Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Japanese Porcelain


Kakiemon / Kakiemon style wares


Page 1

When internal wars began to impede the production of, and consequently the trade in, Chinese porcelain toward the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), several Dutch Merchants began to buy porcelain in Japan. At the same time, the production of faience pottery in Delft was stimulated, in order to compensate the shortage of Chinese porcelain. From 1658 onward, the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) also recognized these commercial opportunities and began to order greater quantities of porcelain from Japan. In addition to a very diverse assortment of blue-and-white porcelain. largely in the style of traditional Chinese export goods, the coloured Japanese porcelain formed an unexpected new article in the Netherlands. It soon became very fashionable and the Company was able to generate a great deal of profit in this field.


One potter who benefited greatly from the new Dutch orders was Sakaida Kakiemon, who owned a porcelain kiln near Nangawara, just outside Arita. His porcelains characterized by a lucid whit composition and texture with decorations in various tints of enamel including orange-red, grass-green and blue.


Kakiemon / Kakiemon style wares - Kakiemon

Currently there are no Kakiemon / Kakiemon style - Kakiemon wares for sale.


Kakiemon / Kakiemon style wares - Kakiemon style wares


Kakiemon / Kakiemon style wares - Kakiemon style wares - Page 1


Object 2012032








Height 28 mm (1.10 inch), diameter of rim 228 mm (8.98 inch), diameter of footring 117 mm (4.61 inch), weight 398 grams (14.04 ounce (oz.))


Dish on footring, flat rim. On the base four spur-marks in a Y-pattern. Decorated in underglaze blue with two Hó-ó birds perched on a rock amongst chrysanthemums and peonies. On the sides and rim a border with birds, flowers and scrolling foliage. The reverse is undecorated.


In Japan the bird on the rock, the Hó-ó, is a mythological animal, emblematic of imperial authority. It is considered a symbol of wisdom, strength and also an inhabitant of the Buddhist Paradise. According to legend it would perch only on a kiri- or Paulownia Imperialis tree (Chinese: Wu t’ung). Carving the wood of the kiri is an art form in Japan and China. Several Asian string instruments are made from it, including the Japanese koto. The leaves and blossom of the Paulownia Imperialis became the official crest (mon) of the Empress of Japan. The kiri tree is emblematic of rectitude (Arts 1983, p.133 & 149)


According to Fitski Kakiemon production can be divided into two groups: pieces made in Nangawara which we call 'Kakiemon' and pieces made in Uchiyama, for which we use the appellation 'Kakiemon style'. This dish is representative of a group of pieces, mainly dishes, without the milky-white nigoshide body which is the main characteristic of Kakiemon. In this case, the porcelain is greyish with some impurities or kiln grit on the front and back. Such pieces were not made by the Kakiemon kiln, but by contemporary competitors and are therefore referred to as Kakiemon style. (Jörg 2003/1, p.75 & cat. 62), (Fitski 2011, pp.70-71, p. 90 & p. 97)


For similarly shaped, sized and in underglaze blue, Kakiemon style decorated dishes, please see

For a similarly, in underglaze blue with enamels, Kakiemon style decorated dish, please see:

Condition: A firing flaw (unglazed spot) to the rim.



Arts 1983, p.133 & 149

London 1997, cat. 49

Jörg 2003/1, p.75 & cat. 62

Kyushu 2003, cat. 1545

Fitski 2011, pp.70-71, p.90 & p.97, cat. 108, 109 & 110


Price: € 849 - $ 945 - £ 767

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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Kakiemon / Kakiemon-style wares - Kakiemon-style wares - Page 1


Object 2011676








Height 38 mm (1.49 inch), length 81 mm (3.19 inch), width 34 mm (1.34 inch), weight 44 grams (1.55 ounce (oz.))


Whistle modelled as a reclining boy with his head raised and supported by his hands, a hole in the base and one in his feet to blow the whistle decorated in Kakiemon-type overglaze blue, green, black and iron-red enamels.


The whistle is blown through a slot in the feet and operated through a hole in the base and the open mouth.

The idea of a figural whistle might have been borrowed from the Chinese, where blanc de chine whistles modelled as a European trader were quite common. The hairstyle here indicates that the figure is Chinese. (Jörg 2003/1, p.278), (


Apparently, porcelain figures of humans and animals were a successful export item. The Dutch ordered figures from the very start of the Japanese porcelain trade making use of an already existing market for such figures. The origin of the shapes of the models is still a puzzle, altough it seems logical that the Japanese potters used Japanese sources when making the moulds, perhaps referring to the indigenous doll tradition, to prints or to carved figures. These 'exotic' figures played their part in the export assortment, and were either bought by the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC)), privately by Dutch merchants, or by the Chinese. Three main groups of figures can be discerned: figures in the Kakiemon palette, Imari figures and figures after European models. Enamelled figures come in many shapes and varieties and were included in the export assortment from the beginning of the Dutch porcelain trade. Recent excavations at the former Akaemachi the 'Enameller's Quarter' in Arita, have yielded discarded fragments of biscuit-fired moulds of figures and pulls from moulds that sometimes closely fit existing Kakiemon-style figures. (Jörg 2003/1, p.273)


For an identically shaped and in Kakiemon-style enamels decorated whistle, please see:

For similarly, in Kakiemon-style enamels decorated whistles, please see:

Condition: Some firing flaws near the slot in the feet.



Jörg 1999, cat. 32

Jörg 2003/1, p.273 & cat. 348


Price: € 999 - $ 1,112 - £ 902

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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