Japanese Biscuit Jar w/ Lobed Melon Shape

A very nice Japanese biscuit jar with traditional decoration. The highly stylized chrysanthemums and a highly stylized double Phoenix (also called a Howo or Bird of Paradise) are disposed around the surface of the jar and lid in an asymmetric arrangement with one medallion continuing from the lid onto the body of the jar. Lovely, and typical of Japanese sensibilities.

The piece is signed only in Japanese which suggests an early date (before 1891), but I feel it was more likely made during the early 20th C (possibly during the Nippon period), and bought in Japan, which would explain the lack of any Western marks.

The signature is partly obscured and impossible to read completely. I am told that the top character is 'shun', meaning springtime, green, lustful, and the bottom character looks to be a very stylized version of 'sei', meaning 'made by', but there is really no way to tell for sure since part of the mark is obscured by a sandy patch, an adhesion I think, made when the center slumped in the fire and touched the sandy floor of the kiln. Perhaps it was an artist's signature, but it remains a mystery.

Condition is very nice, with no chips. cracks, or hairlines. There are a few glaze pops and what look to be tiny pieces of debris caught in the glaze, also two small places where the glaze color looks like it either didn't take, or was abraded... not sure exactly what it is, but it's really not a biggie, and looks to be original to the piece. There are also one or two teensy losses to the white moriage. Measures 5 3/4" tall, approximately 6 1/4" in diameter overall, and the mouth measures 3 1/2" across.

A beautiful addition to a collection of Japanese porcelain. Treat yourself or your favorite collector.

Item ID: RL-664

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Marni Bakst, Verbank, NY   

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