The interest in Imari porcelain has experienced some major ups and downs since its origins in the 17th century. At first, much of it was exported to Europe through the encouragement of the Dutch East India Company. However, by 1740 competition from China and in Europe itself caused its production to nearly cease. It wasn’t until the Meiji Period (1868-1912) that Imari caught on again in terms of popularity and profitability after world exposition exhibits in Paris and Chicago in the late 19th century.
As wares from the Edo Period (1603-1868), the decoration is simpler and more subdued than the tightly-packed look of later Meiji-period pieces. These baluster vases have wonderful waisted shapes with much evidence of their hand-thrown natures. They enjoy a beautiful blue-gray thick glaze that has protected them for over 200 years.The deep cobalt blue color is also typical of this period, and has been applied so that it has nuances in depth of color throughout. Much of the gold leaf is still present, although some has faded. Blossoms are scattered about, while slim trees are interposed into the design between them.
Except for the tops, the vases are in excellent condition for their age, having few flaws associated with early pieces. As their original purpose was to grace altars, tables, or mantels, they were not used for food storage or other everyday purposes which may otherwise have led to their becoming seriously damaged.
The foo dog on one top has suffered a loss of part of its tail a long time ago and there are cracks were it was attached. On the other, the foo dog is in fine condition, but the top’s edge had a one-inch restoration.
One vase has a collector’s label on the bottom, denoting that the pair was once part of someone’s collection of similar pieces. This is a beautiful pair of 18th century Japanese Imari vases with their original foo dog lids. They have a strong decorative presence in spite of a few minor condition issues.
Each vase stands about 13-1/2 inches high, including their tops. Their diameter is about 7-1/2 inches at their widest points.
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