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 (1858-1912) 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 with most wares from the Edo Period (1603-1858), the decoration is simpler and more subdued than the tightly-packed look of Meiji-period pieces. This baluster vase has a wonderful waisted shape with much evidence of its hand-thrown nature. It enjoys a beautiful blue-gray thick glaze that has protected it 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.
The vase is in excellent condition for its age, having few flaws associated with early pieces. As its original purpose was to grace altars, tables, or mantels, it was not used for food storage or other everyday purposes which may otherwise have led to its becoming seriously damaged. The vase has lost its top over the years, but it still is a very desirable example of an Edo period piece. A collector’s label on the bottom shows that it was once part of someone’s collection of similar pieces.
It measures about 7-1/2 inches in diameter at its widest point and 8-7/8 inches high.
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