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Over 1000 antique Ceramics Over 200 Years Old

Catalogue > Japanese Porcelain
Japanese Porcelain Page 1
Japanese Porcelain Page 1 Click on the icon of the Japanese blue and white charger, c.1700, decorated with two deer frolicking in a mountainous landscape, the border with rockwork, trees and houses in a mountainous landscape, to view more Japanese porcelain items
Japanese Porcelain Page 2
Japanese Porcelain Page 2 Click on the icon of the large Japanese blue and white Arita octagonal vase and cover, 18th century, to view more items
Japanese Porcelain Page 3
Japanese Porcelain Page 3
Japanese Imari porcelain was first produced in the Genroku period c.1700. It is characterised by the striking use of underglaze blue, red and gilt, and occasionally green enamels. When it came to the attention of the Chinese at Jindezhen that these wares were extremely popular in Europe, they began to produce Imari wares in competition with the Japanese. The first Chinese Imari pieces were produced during the latter half of the Kangxi period (1662-1722). As a generalisation the Chinese Imari pieces are much more finely potted and have a thinner and more even glaze. The Japanese glaze is often crackled and on the inside of vases the glaze is clearly seen to have run. Furthermore most Chinese Imari has a much finer quality underglaze blue.

Japanese Kakiemon tends to be more finely potted than Imari when comparing pieces of a similar date. Due to the Japanese economy having been in trouble for some time prices are very reasonable. Another interesting area to collect in is Kakiemon blue and white which often has the most amazing designs in a high quality bright underglaze blue. Also, the Arita blue and white has many charming and interesting wares worthy of attention.


Kakiemon wares were produced in southern Japan on the Kyushu Island, near the town of Arita, which in the 17th century was the centre of porcelain manufacture. Early Imari wares, which are now taken to include both the polychrome and blue and white (with the exception of Kakiemon and Nabeshima), were named after the port of Imari from where they were shipped. The Dutch were the first European importers of Japanese ceramics and they were first active from the early 1550's. Nabeshima wares were produced at the Okawachi kiln near Arita but these wares, named after the family they were made for, were not exported.

The attractive jar above is decorated with kiri flowers and grass in Kakiemon enamels and probably dates from the last quarter of the 17th century, possibly the Empo/Tenwa period (1673-1683) roughly during the time of Kakiemon IV and V. However it would not surprise me if this jar was even earlier. Kakiemon did not start with definitive and carefully constructive designs but there was a progression towards the finer but less bold and powerful Kakiemon pieces. There are various theories as to whether or not such jars were made at the Kakiemon kiln or by other workshops in the vicinity. It has been suggested that the design on this jar was inspired by late Ming Chinese paintings, as some designs were, but to my eyes this design is intrinsically Japanese. For a similar jar see the de la Mare collection.


Good books on Japanese Ceramics:

'Porcelain for Palaces' a catalogue of a Japanese porcelain exhibition at the British Museum

'Japanese Porcelain' by Soame Jenyns; pub by Faber and Faber.

Catalogue > Japanese Porcelain

Over 1000 antique Ceramics Over 200 Years Old

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