Imari porcelain originated in the 17th century, but didn't become popular until the 19th. It is primarily known for its stylized depictions of bamboo, flowers, and geometric designs in orange, blue, red and sometimes green. The ware was manufactured specifically for the European export trade near the Japanese port of Imari in the town of Arita, on an island in the south of the country. Today the town hosts an annual week-long ceramics fair that draws a million visitors.
As can be said of most finely painted porcelain pieces, the beauty depends upon the talent of the artist as a designer, the skill of the artist as the executioner of his design, and lastly but most important, the artist’s ability to harmoniously blend all of the elements required in a fine painting. This charger was obviously done by an experienced and creative Imari artist who knew his art well and also had exceptional talent.
This beautiful scalloped charger has for its centerpiece one of the most popular motifs. The Japanese blue two-handled jardinière is filled with an abundance of flowers and leaves. This jardinière is sitting on a wooden floor with small bamboo-like fencing on each side. Surrounding the large central motif is a bunch of flowers attached to a twining and undulating vine. Between the vines are large chrysanthemums in orange and gold.
One of the unique attributes of this charger s the hand-made scalloped border. You can see that it was hand-cut by its waviness. The hand-drawn blue line around the edge gives it a nice finished border. There is a great deal of gold leaf that was applied here and there. The leaves of cobalt blue that appear throughout the charger give it a strong presence. On the reverse side are birds in flight and fruit in blue.
The condition is excellent. There are no usual flaws of a piece from the 19th century. The creator of this charger was meticulous as there are several hand-made scallops in which he added clay, paint and glaze prior to it being placed in the kiln. These built-up areas show as being just slightly thicker than the rest of the charger.
It measures 12 inches in diameter.