Japanese / Storage Jar / Edo period, c. 1670-1690Japanese
Storage Jar
Edo period, c. 1670-1690

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: Japanese
Title: Storage Jar
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1670
Creation End Date: 1690
Creation Date: Edo period, c. 1670-1690
Creation Place: Japan, Saga Prefecture
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue (Arita ware, Kakiemon style)
Dimensions: H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm); D. 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.232
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Rights: http://www.asiasociety.org
Context: The rapid development and diversification of the Japanese porcelain industry in the 17th century is one of the most fascinating episodes in the history of ceramics. During this period, the city of Arita, located in the Saga Prefecture in Hizen Province on the southern island of Kyushu, became the largest and most important center for the production of porcelain in the world. Several factors contributed to this development. One was the contribution of the many technically advanced potters brought to Japanfrom Korea during the late 16th-century Japanese invasions of that country. Another was the prohibitive effects of the civil disarray in 17th-century China on its ceramic industry, which led Europeans and other customers in search of highly prized porcelains to turn to Japan.

Many questions remain regarding the development of porcelain in Japan. Traditionally, the discovery of the type of clay needed to produce porcelains has been credited to a potter named Ri Sampei, who was one of the Korean artisansbrought to Japan. Production of porcelains began around 1610 in the Karatsu stoneware kilns located just to the north of Arita. Karatsu wares also reflected the influence of other Korean advances, such as sophisticated types of kilns and kick wheels for throwing.

The majority of Japanese porcelains are classified as Arita wares, based on the location of their production. Arita wares are traditionally subdivided into Imari, Kakiemon, and Nabeshima styles (although this system is currently under revision). This large storage jar is characteristic of Kakiemon wares--named for the artisan who was once thought to have originated their style of decoration. Kakiemon wares have a lighter palette than Imari or Nabeshima, with pale blues, greens, yellows, and reds predominating; blue-and-white wares such as this example are painted in different densities of underglaze blue. The compositions of the paintings are sparser; the motifs are more isolated and centered on two or more sides of a vessel rather than covering the entire surface; and the quality of the clay and glaze differs. The bodies of most Kakiemon-style wares are a warm, milky white, called nigoshide, and are considered the whitest porcelains produced in East Asia. In addition, Kakiemon wares tend to be more finely potted than other wares, and it seems likely that they were among the most expensive items produced at Arita.

As is typical of this style, two compositions are painted on this jar. In one, two birds on a rock are set againsta large flowering plum tree. The other consists of a large chrysanthemum and a Taihu rock. The latter, found near Lake Tai in China, is often depicted in Chinese art and used in Chinese garden design. Bands of scrolling flowers encircle the neck and shoulder of the jar. The birds are rather awkwardly painted with very full chests, a type that appears frequently in the decoration of Kakiemon-style wares. The disproportionately large flowering plants are also a hallmark of this style.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 103.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd--Part II. New York: Asia Society, 1975, pp. 84, 102.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 168, 169.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 93, 139-40.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.232
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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