Bottle, porcelain painted in overglaze enamels; Japan, Arita kilns (Kutani type), Edo period, 1660-1680
Bottle of porcelain, pear-shaped with tapering neck and spreading rim. Painted with floral sprays in red, green, aubergine-purple, yellow and blue anmels with black outlines.
Porcelain was first made in Japan in the early years of the 17th century at kilns in and around the town of Arita in the northern part of the western island of Kyushu. While the earliest pieces were designed solely for the domestic market, after 1650 production increased and a large part of the industry became involved in making ceramics for export to Europe. This bottle is an example of porcelain produced to Japanese taste in the period after production for export had begun. Works for the domestic market vary considerably in style, but most have a matt glaze over a relatively rough, off-white body. Their attraction lies in their fluid, calligraphically painted decoration carried out in a range of rich, deep colours.
Date given as 1660-1680 in Porcelain for Palaces, no. 77; dated on label in Toshiba Gallery given as 'about 1650-1700' as at February 2009
Location: Japan, room 45, case 1