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Exhibitions of Loaned Artifacts

Sailing the High Seas: Imari Porcelain Wares
Sailing the High Seas: Imari Porcelain Wares
Extension:Exhibitions of Loaned Artifacts 2015/12/28~ 2018/12/28
Showroom: S201
Exhibition Description

 

Exhibition Description

 

  • Introduction

    Exhibitions of Loaned Artifacts / S201

    Japan has greatly admired China's high-fired porcelain wares since the Tang and Song Dynasties. However, owing to limitations of technology and resources, they were initially unable to produce their own wares and had to rely on porcelains imported from China, which were available only to Japanese high society. The invasions of Korea by Toyotomi Hideyoshi from 1592 to 1598 brought skilled porcelain craftsmen back to Japan, thereby changing Japan's reliance on imported wares from China. These Korean craftsmen discovered Izumiyama clay in what is now Saga Prefecture, thereby settling the resource problem, and the first porcelain wares of Japanese origin were created in the town of Arita in 1616. Within the next thirty to forty years, Arita porcelain skills rapidly improved and came to be well acknowledged. They were sold overseas from the nearby port of Imari, which is how they acquired the name "Imari Porcelain". During the mid-17th century, as China's porcelain exports were suspended during the transition from the Ming to the Qing dynasties, Imari porcelain, sold into the European market through the Dutch East India Company, stood out in international trade and became highly popular in Europe.

    The Imari wares of far eastern origin were not only regarded as popular curios and tableware among European royalty, but were also used as palace decorations and exchanged between diplomatic envoys as valuable gifts.

    A total of 161 items are on exhibition here from the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, most of which are Imari wares exported to Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibition introduces the features of Imari porcelain wares and their use in Europe in four parts: "Imari Porcelain," "Ostentatious Displays," "Banquet Tableware," and "Palace Decorations." A fifth part, "Diplomatic Gifts", presents 13 Imari items discovered in the Qing Dynasty palace in Beijing. Through the different collections, the exhibition presents the splendor of Imari porcelain in the competitive Age of Discovery.

 
  • Part1 - Imari Porcelain

  • DISH Blue-and-white with heron design

  • DISH
    Blue-and-white with heron design

    Edo period.1660-1670s
    H 5.8/D 31.2
    Arita ware
    The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

    Depicted at the center of the dish are two egrets standing in front of sweet sedge on Taihu scholar's rocks; along the rims are designs of chrysanthemums surrounded by rocks and waves. The blue-and-white designs are like a painting, strategically using light and dark shades of cobalt blue and coloring techniques to create a three-dimensional image. This style was popular during the initial period of Imari exports.

  • LARGE DISH Porcelain with design of a pavilion and ladies in overglaze polychrome enamels

  • LARGE DISH
    Porcelain with design of a pavilion and ladies in overglaze polychrome enamels

    Edo period.1700-1730s
    H 9.1/D 55.7
    Arita ware
    The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

    An illustration of a yard with peonies and cherry blossoms in full bloom, while ladies of pleasure and their servants view the spring scenery from a two-storied pavilion and a bridge. The pavilion and lake rocks are drawn in blue-and-white, with the bridge and clouds further decorated in red and gold enamel, creating a luxurious spring scene. The rim of the dish is adorned with three blossoms of peony, chrysanthemum, and plum. Within the foot-ring of the dish, the marks of twelve supporting pin marks can still be seen, to which nine triangular supporting pin marks can still be seen, to which nine triangular supporting pins are still firmly attached.

 
  • Part2 - Ostentatious Displays

  • LOBED STRAINING BOWL AND LOBED UNDER PLATE

  • LOBED STRAINING BOWL AND LOBED UNDER PLATE
    Kraak style (fuyod) porcelain with flower arrangement design in overglaze polychrome enamels

    Edo period.1740-1770s
    Bowl)H 8.3/D 24.5( Saucer)H 5.9/D 30.7
    Arita ware
    The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

    A straining bowl with a three-foots underplate of unique form; it may have been used as a straining bowl for washing fruits and vegetables and could be placed on the dining table as well. Depicted on the inner side of the bowl is a vase of blossoming flowers, while the rims of the bowl and underplate have similar eight-sectored designs in the Kraak style. Inside the foot-ring of the underplate, the characters Da Ming Jiajing nianzhi 大明嘉靖年製 (“Made during the Jiajing reign-period(1522-1566) of the Great Ming(dynasty)”) are inscribed in blue-and-white within double circles; the outer rims of the wares are decorated with peony and plant prints.

 
  • Part3 - Banquet Tableware

    As food is a basic human need, eating habits often reflect particular humans cultures. To respond to demands from the European market, Arita craftsmen designed customized banquet tableware different from that used within Japan. Imari porcelains imitating European metal or low-fired porcelain wares were designed for all functions, such as large dishes convenient for use knives and forks, soup tureens, spice jars, beer jugs, coffee pots, and cocoa mugs. AS Imari ware found its place on European banquet tables, spread out for luxurious afternoon activities, it also established its position in European society.

  • BOWL Porcelain with flowers-and-bird design in overglaze polychrome enamels

  • BOWL
    Porcelain with flowers-and-bird design in overglaze polychrome enamels

    Edo period.1720-1740s
    H 34.6/W 34.4
    Arita ware
    The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

    A large lidded bowl with a rarely-seen rabbit-shaped knob atop the lid, replacing the commonly-used lion motif. The rabbit, crouching on a sphere, has big alert ears and round eyes. Similar rabbit designs on other vessels have been explained as representing the “moon rabbit” whose shape can be seen on the face of the moon. Panels in the lid and bowl also show realistic paintings of a pheasant in the clutches of a raptor, perhaps an eagle. The golden outlining use in the illustration was a trend of the time.

  • SET OF CONDIMENT CONTAINERS AND TRAY

  • SET OF CONDIMENT CONTAINERS AND TRAY
    Porcelain with flowering plant design in overglaze polychrome enamels

    Edo period.1700-1730s
    (Pot)H 10.4/W 8.5
    (A)H 10.7/W 10.3 (S)H 10.5/W 10.1(O)H 10.6/W 10.4
    (Saucer)H 11.0/D 25.3
    Arita ware
    The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

    A set of four condiment containers and tray. A bottom-flared hollow cylinder protrudes from the center of the tray, which has round indentations for the containers. Three of four containers are designed with spouts and panels marked with letters A, O and S in gold, reflecting their purpose for holding vinegar, oil, and syrup (Azjin, Olie, and Siroop in Dutch) respectively. The only spoutless container has an indented rim instead so as to hold a spoon, and was presumably used to contain mustard.

 
  • Part4 - Palace Decorations

  • LARGE JAR Porcelain with design of a lady holding a parasol in overglaze polychrome enamels

  • LARGE JAR
    Porcelain with design of a lady holding a parasol in overglaze polychrome enamels

    Edo period.1740-1770s
    H 59.0/D 30.9
    Arita ware
    The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

    Cloud-shaped panels on the lid and the body of this jar feature a lady wearing black wooden sandals dancing with an oil-paper parasol. This type of design was inspired by the figures and customs of the Edo period. A figure of a topknotwearing man holding a fan stands atop the lid of the jar; there is a small hole on the left side of his back. The body of the jar is patterned with peonies in blue underglaze as the background, with a sharp contrast between the blue and white. The gold contours are also characteristic of Edo-period wares. The Mapleleaf Dance of Suzuki Harunohu(1725-1770) is the most famous work of the "parasol lady" theme. The "lady" designs on Imari export wares can be said to be the “ukiyo-e of porcelain".

  • FIGURINES OF SUMO WRESTLERS (two sets)

  • FIGURINES OF SUMO WRESTLERS (two sets)
    Porcelain with decoration in overglaze polychrome enamels

    Edo period.1680-1710s
    (Left) H:30.6/W:23.0 (Right) H:31.3/W:25.4
    Arita ware
    The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka

    The sumo-wrestler figurine of the Kakiemon style reached its technical maturity in the Enpo Era (1673-1681). The artwork vividly depicts two sumo wrestlers wearing topknots and Edo-period hairstyle (the entire head shaved just above the ear, with the reminder tied up in the back) in action. Their loincloths bear traces of gold paint. Baron of Burghley William Cecil (1520-1598) had a similar collectable in his mansion, and his 1688 family treasure inventory also documents “two male porcelain figurines of sumo wrestlers."

 
  • Part5 - Diplomatic Gifts

  • FIOWER-RIMMED BOWL

  • FIOWER-RIMMED BOWL
    Porcelain with overglaze polychrome enamels

    Edo period.1670-1700s
    H 11.4/MD 1.4/BD 11.3
    Arita ware
    National Palace Museum

    This bowl is shaped like a five-petaled flower. The outer surface of bowl is glazes with a sheer layer of milky white enamel, upon which are illustrations of mountains, rocks, flowers, and trees. Pheonixes at play are depicted in the center of the bowl. Much of the surface is left blank, creating the modest yet elegant quality of an Kakiemon-styled Imari product. The character fu 福 (“Fortune”) appears within a square in the center of the bottom of the bowl; because of its swirling calligraphy, it is also referred to as the “Wofu 渦福 (Swirling Fortune)” inscription.

 



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