Ko-Kutani, Arita kiln c.1650

Measuring 14cm (5.51 inches) in diameter

Literature: see the exhibition catalogue of Ko-Kutani: Aote-to-kozara, Hankyu Hyakkaten, 1974 (Takigawa Hoseido, Catalogue of an exhibition organized by and held at Hanyu Hyakkaten, Nov.8-13, 1974, Hankyu Dentetsu Kabushiki Kaisha), monochrome plate no. 85 for an identical Ko-Kutani circular dish with wild geese and reeds.


With outstretched wings, a wild goose decends to the waters below, honking greeting at his mate who stands by another goose on a reedy sandbank. This theme of 'Goose Descending to Sandbar' is derived from the great Song cycle of painting - 'Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers', the earliest known painted version by Song Di (c.1015 - c.1080). This theme was beloved in Japan. The composition on this piece is very similar to a silk painting by Lu Ji (c.1420 - c.1505) entitled 'Lu ding lai yan' ('Wild Geese Returning to Reedy Sandbank') illustrated in Gugong shuhua tulu (Palace Museum Catalogue of Calligraphy and Paintings), col.7, p.179. The theme of geese in late autumn on a lonely river bank heralds the coming of winter.

This very early Arita-kiln non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain of circular form with gently flared rim is covered with a very pale bluish-grey glaze, the interior superbly painted with the five overglaze enamels of pale yellow, brilliant blue, turquoise green, iron red and bold aubergine, with black outlining, depicting a wild goose in flight above two geese standing amongst reeds on a sandbank. The underside is decorated with black outlined turquoise-green symbolic objects and iron red tassels. This early enamelled dish was manufactured in Arita just before trade with Europe through the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company) began.

Ko Kutani geese & reeds dish, Arita kiln, c1650

An Important and Exceptionally Fine Early Enamelled Arita Iroe Ko-Kutani non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain dish

depicting Wild Geese and Reed (Ashi Gan No Zu)
early Edo period, Joo era (1650-55)

circa 1650


Ai-Kakiemon, Nangawara kiln, Arita c.1660-1670

An Exceedingly Striking, Fine and Early Ai-Kakiemon

non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain dish

depicting Cranes and Bamboo

Nangawara kiln (Old Kakiemon kiln site)
early Edo period, Kanbun era (1660-1673)

circa 1660-1670

Measuring 21.3cm (8.38 inches) in diameter 


A simply superb and possibly unique example representing the transition between the Ko-Kutani style and the Kakiemon style manufactured in the Old Kakiemon kiln (Nangawara) in the late Kanbun period. Identical cobalt-blue seal marks within a double-square have been excavated at the Old Kakiemon kiln site. The interior is very asymmetrically and naturalistically painted in sharp, stunningly vivid strokes of cobalt blue - an exceptionally fine example of the Ai-Kakiemon (Blue Kakiemon) style.

This very early Kakiemon non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain of circular form with gently flared rim is covered with a very pale bluish-grey glaze, the interior superbly and sharply painted with the a pair of cranes among bamboo shoots. The reverse is finely encircled with a very neatly drawn scrolling karakusa, and a cobalt blue kaku-fuku seal mark within a double square to the base. The underside set with three spar marks, and the edge of the footrim burnt orange.


This early transitional dish is exceptionally rare in that it marks a period when both non-biscuit fired and biscuit-fired porcelains were manufactured at the same time and at the same place - on the cusp of when the so-called Ko-Kutani style would be superseded by that of the the Kakiemon.



Ai-Kutani, Chokichidani kiln, Arita c.1655

A Splendid and Exceedingly Rare Early Ai-Kutani moulded dish with pie-crust rim and sharply undulating cavetto, superbly painted with flowering branches of Peony issuing from Rockwork,

Chokichidani kiln

early Edo period, Joo era (1652-55)

circa 1655

Measuring 20.3 cm (7.99 in) in diameter


An identical dish in the Shibata Collection at the Kyushu Ceramic Museum, illustrated in Catalogue VII, no.111.

Similar moulded porcelain dishes illustrated in Yamashita, Sakuro "Ai-Kutani to Ai-Kakiemon" (1983), and in Tsuchioka, K. "The Shibata Collection, vol.II, nos. 155-157.


A fine Private Collection, Kyushu, Japan


The exceptional finely potted white porcelain body of shallow circular form with a sharply moulded pie-crust rim dressed in iron brown fuchi-beni rim glaze with a superbly formed cavetto of undulating, spiralling form.


The interior is boldly painted with a large central circular medallion depicting flowering branches of peony issuing from rockwork on a steep ground, the reverse encircled with a finely drawn double-lined scrolling hana-karakusa.

A cobalt-blue Kaku-Fuku seal character on the reverse within a double square, the edge of the footring burnt red, thickly potted base.


Kakiemon-related, Arita kiln, c.1660

A 17thc Early Enamelled Ware Kakiemon shell-shaped dish on high foot, enamelled in two-tone overglaze blue with a flowering Himalayan blue poppy and two poppy seed-heads (pods) growing from the scalloped edge

Arita, Japan, early Edo period


Early Enamelled Ware; Kakiemon-related

Measuring 12.9 cm (5.1") in length; 9 cm (3.5") in width; 2.9 cm (1.14") in height

A similar example of this exceptionally rare dish is on display in the Japanese Gallery of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. It is thought that the present dish may predate the Ashmoleon example, which differs only in that the Ashmolean example has two-tone enamelling in overglaze blue and green, whereas the present example has two-tone enamelling in dark overglaze blue and light overglaze blue.

No other example of this early blue poppy design on a shell-shaped Arita dish is known.

An incredibly rare piece of early Japanese porcelain history.



see Impey, Oliver 'Japanese Export Porcelain: The Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford' (2002), pg.93, no.97 (Story Fund, 1989.168) categorized as Early Enamelled Ware; Kakiemon-related, for the only other known recorded example.



Kakiemon, Arita kiln, c.1690-1710

A Fine and Rare Enamelled Arita (iroe) Kakiemon-type porcelain footed bowl featuring flowering Hydrangea, representative of Gratitude, with scattered flowerheads to the underside

Arita kiln

early Edo period, Genroku era (1688-1704)

circa 1690-1710


Measuring 13.5 cm (5.31 in) in diameter; 3.2 cm (1.25 in) in height

The finely potted shallow bowl of white porcelain with an everted and very unusually lobed rim dressed in iron-brown fuchi-beni glaze (lip rouge) and enamelled with a continuous band of scrolling foliage and stylized flowerheads, the interior painted in overglaze yellow, green, blue, black and iron red enamels with flowering branches of hydrangea and peony to the centre, the gently curved sides sparsely decorated with scattered enamelled flowerheads, and raised on a circular foot.

The Hydrangea was a motif rarely used by the Kakiemon, yet boldly featured on this small bowl. Being symbolic of Gratitude, it is likely that this bowl was intended as a presentation piece, or a 'Small Token of Gratitude'.

The enamels are in bright, remarkable and pristine condition, and the scattered flowerheads to the underside are particularly pleasing.



A very rare & fine 17thc Japanese Export bowl & cover

of European form known in France as 'ecuelle' (broth bowl & cover)

decorated in the Chinese 'Transitional style' with figures & terraces

made for export to Europe by the Dutch East India Company (VOC)

Arita kiln, Japan

early Edo period

circa 1680

Measuring 17cm in width

Modelled after a silver/gold European form known in France as 'ecuelle' - a bowl which was given to a noblewoman on her birthing bed, containing a hearty broth to revive the new mother after child-birth. The bowl was traditionally given as a gift by the father, and each of the handles show three demi-flowerheads, or hearts, representative of the father, mother and newborn child.

The exterior of the bowl is decorated in in the Transitional style, in underglaze cobalt blue with Chinese male and female figures in front of a fenced terrace amongst rockwork, bamboo and pine trees, the low domed cover similarly decorated with a crisply modelled finial in the form of a fruit spray.


A superb example of 17thc trade, this piece beautifully demonstrates cross-cultural style: taking its shape from a European metalwork original, it's decoration from a Chinese Transitional period design, and it's materials and artistry from Japan, on order to the Dutch East India Company to be shipped out of Japan and sold a noble family in Europe.



For a similar example, without the cover, see Soame Jenyns, 'Japanese Porcelain' (London 1965) no. 21a(ii) (from the collection of Mr & Mrs Soame Jenyns).


Japanese Export, European Form, Arita kiln, c.1670

A large & striking 17thc Japanese Export jug of European form, modelled after a German stoneware bier-krug

decorated in Chinese 'Transitional style' with 'Scholars in the Wilderness'

made for export to Europe by the Dutch East India Company (VOC)

Arita kiln, Japan

early Edo period

circa 1665

Measuring 24.8cm in height (9 3/4 inches in height)

The oviform ewer modelled after German stoneware form (beer jug/bier-krug/Bellarmine) decorated in underglaze blue in the Chinese Transitional style, with waisted neck decorated with upright Dutch tulips, the applied C-shaped pierced loop handle decorated with diagonal geometrical patterns. The impressively-sized bulbous body superbly and energetically painted with groups of Scholars in the Wildness, watching the falling leaves and surrounded by pine trees, maples and rockwork.

The pierced handle was made to be fitted with a silver-mount after imporation in Europe - for an example, see a similarly shaped vessel with contempory Dutch silver mounts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 2002.447.44.

A similar example, slightly smaller and without mounts, in The British Museum and dated to 1655-60.



A similar example, with contemporary silver mounts, illustrated in Brennan Ford, Barbara & Impey, Oliver 'Japanese Art from the Gerry Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art', no.37.


Japanese Export, European Form, Arita kiln, c.1665

Ko-Imari, Arita kiln, c.1690-1710

Measuring 20.8 cm (8.18 inches) in diamter, 2.9 cm (1.14 inches) high

This very fine late 17th century Arita white porcelain dish of circular form with a flared rim, the interior asymmetrically painted in fine underglaze cobalt blue tones with three auspicious symbols, a crane in flight above a perpetually-lived turtle (Minogame) and a pine issuing by the partly snow-clad rockwork, the underside decorated with karakusa scrolling, a cobalt-blue circle to the base set with four spar marks, some kiln-grit adhering to the footring.

According ancient Japanese legend, gtsuru wa sennen, kame wa mannenh, the crane lives a thousand years, and the turtle ten thousand years. These auspicious symbols of longevity are seen as bearers of good fortune and long-lasting friendship or devotion; the crane having only one partner for life. The tortoise is also The Guardian of the North and represents winter; this dish bearing a snowy bank beneath a pine tree.

A Splendid Blue and White Arita porcelain dish boldly painted with a Crane and Turtle (Tsuru Kame),

representative of Friendship, Devotion & Longevity

Arita kiln

early Edo period, Genroku era (1688-1704)

circa 1690-1710



Ko-Imari, Arita kiln, c.1670-1690

Measuring 23.8 cm in diameter 


Running fuku mark in underglaze cobalt blue on reverse

A very finely potted lobed dish painted in rich cobalt tones with a pair of large clams (hamaguri) and seaweeds (kaisou).


This dish - decorated strongly and boldly in the Japanese taste - was certainly made for the home market, and not for export to Europe through the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company).

The famous Shibata collection at the Kyushu Museum shows several late 17th century Arita-kiln dishes depicting clam, marine algae and seaweeds, however the present dish with it's striking pair of clams shells - most likely representative of fidelity and marriage - appears to be unrecorded.

The reverse shows a large underglaze blue Running Fuku mark and three spar marks, encircled by finely painted karakusa scrolls.


A Previously Unrecorded blue and white Ko-Imari dish superbly and boldly painted with two large clams and seaweeds

Arita kiln

circa 1670-1690



Export Ewer, Chokichidani kiln, Arita c.1665

A Very Finely Painted and Potted Export Wine Ewer

of European form, made in Arita for export by the Dutch East India Company, painted in the Chinese Transitional Style

Chokichidani kiln

early Edo period, Kanbun era (1660-1673)

circa 1665

Measuring 21.3 cm 8.42 inches in height


The Tonbodama Art Museum Exhibition (1996). Illustrated p.63 cat. 60.


Impey, Oliver. Catalogue of the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum (2002). Impey illustrates is a fragmentary ewer dating to 1666 found at Chokichidani kiln site, identical to the present ewer.

A nearly identical ewer in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Story Fund EA2000.4, also attributed to workshops at the Chokichdani kiln.

Jorg, Christian. Fine & Curious: Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections, p.49, cat. 178.

This ovoid-shpaed export wine ewer - with its form based on German stoneware, its distinctively Japanese spreading takefushi (bamboo-noded) foot, its bold painting adopted directly from the Chinese Transitional style of the late Ming Dynasty, and pierced loop handle destined for European silver-mounts - stands as a testament to the highly active trade-routes of the 17th century. Created in Japan, of European shape, painted in the Chinese style and ordered by the Dutch East India company for shipment to Amsterdam; this piece is truly representative of historical trade and cross-cultural influence.

The straight neck painted with a band of foliage, the sides painted in fine underglaze cobalt blue tones with a continuous scene of scholars conversing in a terraced garden among willow, pine and a waterfall, flowering sprays of lotus to the neck, moulded circles around the foot, with some kiln-grit adhering to the outside and inside of the foot. The loop handle pierced, but unmounted.

Jorg describes the takefushi shape of the bulging foot as spreading and then turning sharply inwards - a uniquely Japanese feature known as 'bamboo-noded'.

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Ko-Kutani, Arita kiln, c.1650

A very Fine and Early Enamelled Arita Iroe Ko-Kutani non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain footed bowl

depicting Ho-o birds encircling a spurious Chenghua reign mark

Arita kiln
early Edo period, Joo era (1650-55)

circa 1650

Measuring 13 cm (5.11 inches) in diameter, 4.2cm (1.65inches) in height


A fine Japanese Private Collection, Kyushu, Japan


Ogi, I. Shoki Imari kara ko-Kutani yoshiki, page 187, colour plates 212 and 213.

This slightly thickly potted non-biscuit Arita-kiln porcelain of circular form with curved sides set on a typically small foot, covered with a blue-grey tinged glaze partly thickly pooled, the interior painted in underglaze cobalt blue, fine original iron red and overglaze enamels with a pair of ho-o birds in flight to the side walls, an underglaze-blue spurious Chenghua six-character mark within cobalt-blue and iron red circles, the underside encircled by folded pine needles (ori-matsuba), kiln-grit adhering to the unglazed footrim.

This early enamelled dish was manufactured in Arita just before trade with Europe through the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company) began. It is excessively rare to find authentic early Ko-Kutani of this period and quality in the West.


Ko-Imari, Arita kiln, c.1690

A fine and boldly painted Ko-Imari porcelain dish with rinka rim

strikingly decorated with a Pair of Ayu Sweetfish

Arita kiln

Early Edo period

circa 1690

Measuring 20 cm (7.87 inches) in diameter

The finely potted biscuit-fired white porcelain of circular form with a fine lobed rinka rim, the interior very boldly painted with a strikingly contrasting and balanced pair of swimming sweetfish in fine underglaze cobalt blue showcasing strong tonal variations and expert brushwork.

The reverse decorated with a fine double-lined hana-karakusa scroll, a cobalt blue Chenghua apocryphal six-character mark with a circle to the base. Five spar marks and some kiln-grit adhering the the footring.


Kakiemon, Arita kiln, c.1690

A very fine Kakiemon enamelled deep dish of nigoshide porcelain

Genroku era (1688-1703)

delicatley enamelled in the Kakiemon style

with a frolicking shishi Lion and sprays of flowering Peony

circa 1690


Measuring 13.9 cm (5.47 in) in diameter; 4.4 cm (1.73 in) in height.

An exceptionally well enamelled and very finely potted foliate shallow bowl, the body of luminescent white nigoshide porcelain with milk-white glaze, painted in the Kakiemon palette of iron red, brilliant blue, turquise green and pale yellow with black outlining, depicting a frolicking shishi alongside classic Kakiemon flowering peonies.

The reverse is typically undecorated. A spar mark to the glazed base, some kiln-grit adhering to the interior of the unglazed footrim.

This bright white nigoshide body is a fine example of the white porcelain paste and pure glaze used for only the finest enamelled wares of this period. This body, composed of kaolin and petunste, achieved purity through a time consuming process in which the Arita potters repeatedly levigated and washed the clay.

An excessively rare and pleasing pattern.


Ai-Kakiemon, Arita kiln, c.1690

A Highly Important Documentary blue & white Kakiemon dish

Genroku era (1688-1703)

from the Royal Collection of Augustus the Strong of Saxony

circa 1690

Marked on reverse with Wheel-Incised JOHANNEUM Japanese Palace Inventory number 'N:184~~~'


Measuring 23.8 cm in diameter


From the Royal Collections of AUGUSTUS THE STRONG (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland

This superby painted ai-Kakiemon (blue Kakiemon) dish displays the finest Kakiemon features, the floriform rim moulded in ten pointed lobes edged in fuchi-beni iron-rim dressing. Painted in exceptionally fine and rich graduated underglaze cobalt blue tones with a snarling tiger beneath a grinning dragon, the former representing The Earth, the latter allegorical of The Heavens.

Literature: An identical example (without the Johanneum inventory mark) is held in the collection of The Stichting Twickel, Delden, The Netherlands, JK 38, and is illustrated in The Oriental Ceramics Society publication 'Porcelain for Palaces: The Fashion for Japan in Europe, 1650-1750' (1990), plate 126.


Bearing fuku mark for 'happiness' in underglaze blue, and incised with the Johanneum inventory number N:184 ~~~ from the Japanese Palace, Dresden.


Ko-Imari enamelled Kraak-style, Arita kiln, c.1690-1700

An unusual enamelled, gilt and underglaze blue Kraak-style Ko-Imari dish

Arita kiln, painted in overglaze enamels of iron-red, yellow, green, turquoise and aubergine, with gilded highlights

Genroku era (1688-1703)

Marked on reverse with a large cobalt fu-ki-cho-shun four-character mark (meaning: perpetual spring of riches and honours)

Measuring 14.3 cm in diameter


An identical example illustrated in The Shibata Collection, volume IV, no.97.


The border with divided panels decorated with precious objects alternated by stylized upright flowers.

Kraak porcelain is a type of early blue and white Chinese export porcelain produced from the Wanli reign (1573-1620) until around 1640. It is named after the Portuguese ships (Carracks), in which it was transported. Kraak-ware was the first Chinese export ware to arrive in Europe in large quantities. It is usually Blue and White, decorated with stylized flowers such as peonies and chrysanthemums, and with wide border panels. Wares included large dishes, bowls and vases. After the fall of the Ming dynasty and the closure of most Chinese kilns, the Arita kilns in Japan began fulfilling the orders for Kraakware placed by the Dutch East India Company for export to Europe. This Japanes enameled and gilded Kraak-dish is an exceptionally rare example of the style.


Kakiemon-style, Arita kiln, c.1690-1700

A very fine square underglaze blue porcelain bowl, brilliantly enamelled in the Kakiemon-style with Chrysanthemums and Camellias

Arita kiln, Kakiemon kiln, likely Nangawara

Early Edo Period, Genroku era (1688-1704)

circa 1690

Marked to the base with a large underglaze blue tow-character inishiebito seal mark, identical seal marks found at the Nangawara kiln sites


Measuring 15 cm in diameter; 4.5 cm in height

Of square form with gently curved sides, raised on a large circular footring, very finely painted in underglaze cobalt blue, and enamelled to the interior with flowering branches of Chrysanthemum and Camillia in iron red, overglaze green, blue, yellow and black. The underside decorated with stylized folded pine needles - a very popular motif often used on the reverse of mid-17th century Ko-Kutani wares.


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