Japanese / Gourd-Shaped Bottle / Edo period, c. 1660-1680Japanese
Gourd-Shaped Bottle
Edo period, c. 1660-1680

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: Japanese
Title: Gourd-Shaped Bottle
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1660
Creation End Date: 1680
Creation Date: Edo period, c. 1660-1680
Creation Place: Japan, Saga Prefecture
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Porcelain painted with overglaze enamels (Arita ware)
Dimensions: H. 10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm); D. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.243
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.

The first Japanese porcelains were painted with underglaze cobalt blue, called "old blue-and-white" ware (ko-sumetsuke). But by about 1640, overglaze enamels had been added to the palette. It is generally accepted that overglaze enamels were introduced to Kyushu from Kyoto rather than from China. One reason for this assumption is the use of a vibrant overglaze blue in both Kyoto ware and Japanese porcelains, a color not found in Chinese ceramics of that period.

The majority of Japanese porcelains are classified as Arita wares, based on the location of their production. This gourd-shaped bottle typifies the early enameled wares produced at Arita, and can be dated c. 1660-80. It is fairly thickly potted and painted with lively compositions that are carefully placed to flow across the surface. The leaves on the shoulder are yellow and green, the densely packed needles of the pine tree on the body of the bottle are dark green, the buds of the plum tree are yellow, and the cloudlike forms decorated with a basketweave-like pattern are red. As is often true of early enameled wares from Arita, the shapes are outlined using a fairly thick black enamel.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 106.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.243
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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