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 (1661-1673)

circa 1660-1670

Measuring 21.3cm (8.38 inches) in diameter

Mark:

underglaze cobalt blue kaku-fuku seal mark within a double square to the base

 

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

Mark:

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

Literature:

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.

 

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.

Kakiemon-related, Arita kiln, c.1655-65

An Early Enamelled Ware Kakiemon-related 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

c1655-1665

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, likely representing a pivotal period in which the early Ko-Kutani enamels transitioned into the developing style of the Kakiemon.

 

Literature:

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.

 

Ai-Kakiemon, Arita kiln, c.1680

A rare Ai-Kakiemon style Arita koro incense burner

Arita kiln, Japan

Early Edo period (17th Century)

Enpo Era (1673-1681)

circa 1680

Measuring 6.8 cm (2.83 inches) diameter; 5.8 cm (2.67 inches) high

Rather small and thickly, yet finely, potted biscuit-fired porcelain of cylindrical form with a flattened rim edged in fuchi-beni (iron rim glaze), the upright sides slightly tapering to the short waisted foot, and decorated in underglaze blue with a continuous landscape scene featuring a pair of anglers by a riverbank near a viewing pavilion, fishing nets strung out to dry near a willow tree and two fishing boats, another viewing pavilion nestled among mountain peaks and rocky crags in the distance.

 

A cobalt-blue double ring to the base, some kiln-git adhering to the edge of the footrim, the glazed interior with a very small lacquer restoration to the edge of the interior rim.

Kakiemon type, Arita kiln, c.1690-1700

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 1690-1700

 

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, pristine condition, and the scattered flowerheads to the underside are particularly pleasing.

 

Japanese Export, European Form, Arita kiln, c.1660-80

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 (17th Century)

Likely Kanbun/Enpo Era (1661-1681)

circa 1660-80

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.

 

Literature:

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).

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 (17th Century)

Kanbun Era (1661-1673)

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.

 

Literature:

A similar example in The Ashmolean Museum dated circa 1660-80, formerly in the collection of Soame Jenyns and gifted by Gerald Reitlinger.

A similar example in The British Museum dated circa 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

Ai-Kakiemon, Arita kiln, c.1680

A very fine late 17th century Japanese Kakiemon lotus form five-petalled bowl dressed with fuchi-beni rim, the bold cobalt blue decoration based on a scene by Frederik van Frijtom (1632-1702) possibly of the Dutch East India trading harbour of Scheveningen, previously called 'Deshima Island' trading post.

early Edo period, Genroku era (1688-1704)

Arita kiln, Kakiemon type, circa 1680-1700.

Measuring 12.5 cm (5 inches) in diameter

Mark:

Square "Ka" on the base, which appears on several sherds discovered at the Kakiemon kiln site and dated to circa 1680-1700.

 

The only other recorded example of this large-sized deep lotus bowl is in the collection of Burghley House, Stamford, where it has remained since the early 18th century. Gordon Lang describes the bowl "of barbed petal form: painted with a continuous landscape in a style manifesting European influence; stylised Chinese figures, one leading an unidentifiable ruminant, an equestrian and a scholar and an attendant crossing a small bridge; a waterfall tumbling into a pool; a trading station and shipping in the distance". Lang references Soame Jenyns, noting that "in many respects the present example follows those pieces specifically ordered by the Dutch traders and which almost certainly utilized designs drawn up in Holland. the figures are reminiscent of those found on contemporary Chinese blue and white export ware even though seen indirectly through the eyes of a Western draughtsman. The man leading the animal is very close in feeling to similar subjects found on the so-called 'Deshima Island' dishes, and furthermore the method of contouring the rocks by means of a series of dashes is also to be seen on these latter dishes".

Smaller version of the present bowl in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford).

 

Literature:

Gordon Lang "The Wrestling Boys: Japanese Porcelain at Burghley House" (1983), p. 16, no. 46.

Barry Davies Oriental Art "Ko-Imari Porcelain from the Collection of Oliver Impey" (1997), p.138, no.76.

Oliver Impey "Japanese Porcelain in the Ashmolean Museum" (2002).