Imari porcelain originated in the early-17th century in the southern Japanese town of Arita. It is primarily known for its stylized depictions of bamboo, flowers, and geometric designs in blue and white at first, and then later 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 beautiful jardiniere was obviously done by an experienced and creative Imari artist who knew his art well and also had exceptional talent.
Imari was wildly popular from the 17th century until the mid-18th in Europe until Chinese--followed by European--potters began creating their own versions of this pottery. By the last half of the 19th century, however, there occurred a great resurgence in interest in all things Japanese, including Imari, especially after the world Expositions in Paris, Philadelphia and Chicago that took place between 1867 and 1893. This heightened interest by the West was given the name, “Japonism,” by a contemporary artist, and took place in the midst of great societal changes in Japan. The Meiji period dates from 1868 until 1912, when the emperor of that name died.
This jardinière has a distinctive ribbed and bulbous body that is narrower at the top edge, balloons out and then narrows again at the bottom edge; somewhat resembling the shape of a pumpkin. However, it because of this and the profusion of motifs that makes this such a wonderful example.
It is decorated in the traditional red and underglaze blue colors with gold highlights of Imari pottery of the 19th century. There are several pots of chrysanthemums depicted on each side. They are separated by small insets of other flowers between buildings. On the top is a narrow band with repeating motifs of flowers and golden fish. On the very top edge of the jardinière, the artist finished the piece with traditional scroll work.
This amazing piece of workmanship sits on its own wooden base. This base has five feet that are held around a pierced and fluted wooden design. This attractive stands suits the heavy jardinière quite well for display.
The condition of this piece is excellent, with nothing to remark upon.
It measures about 8 inches in girth at its widest. The top of the jardinière is 6-1/4 inches in diameter. It is 5-1/4 inches high on its own and 8-1/2 inches high including the stand.
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