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 charger 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 stunning example has a large, central circular panel that incorporates several flower baskets, including one larger one with peonies. It is painted in underglaze blue and red with overglaze orange, green and pink flowers with gilt embellishments. Around the central motif are sections of flowers and birds interspersed with traditional Japanese designs.
This large charger has a nicely scalloped rim. There is an inner band around the circle of additional designs that separate the baskets of flowers from the outer floral designs. The back is painted under the glaze in traditional blue designs.
There is a wonderful old metal plate hanger that comes with this charger. It has been on it a very long time and may have been soldered onto the plate as it is quite heavy. It hanger has two built-in metal loops.
The condition is excellent. There is some gilt loss, as might be expected around the outer edge; otherwise the overglaze enameling is in superb condition.
It measures 16 inches in diameter.
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