This Japanese Antique Kutani yaki Porcelain Miniature Vase or Oil Bottle dates to the Meiji period of 1868-1912 per the Japanese seller, it is at least 100 years old. It is a gorgeous piece in excellent condition and almost looks brand new, it has been well cared for. The miniature vases are some of the prettiest and most elegant ikebana I have seen. The shape is lovely, with a bottom heavy piece and the top rim just slightly rolling under. In Chinese it is called a Shilluzun or pomegranate vase. As a bottle for a flower arrangement, they are beautiful with the small flowers that have very tall and bare thin branches, although I do not know the types of flowers. Most have a tall thin wood stake. I have also seen this shaped bottle around this size called and used as a hair oil bottle, especially by the geisha in the very old days of the Edo period.
This is a hand shaped all handmade piece of porcelain. All the artwork is delicately painted in thick colorful overglaze enamels. The decorations are maru-mon designs, or designs in circles, which is a very old and popular decoration. On the front with a sensui or scenery and geometrical design in two, on the back with red or akae called a five petal flower, the petal shape looks closest to the sakura or cherry blossom to me. The bottom is signed by the potter with the mark called kaku-fuku in Japanese, it is a very famous mark and the one most often seen on Kutani porcelain, and basically the only one used when Kutani was marked in the old days. It is based on one of the Chinese good fortune marks and means 'Good fortune and long life", although it can be interpreted as other sayings. It is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips, the kodai or foot rim is dark from age.
Size Diameter at widest 3.9 inches or 10 cm, Height 2.8 inches or 7 cm, Weight 7 ounces
Kutani, which means Nine Valleys, is an area near Kanazawa City where ceramics were first produced in the mid 17th Century. Kutani Porcelain comes from a long history in Kaga district or Ishikawa Prefecture of Japan. Many kilns of Kutani Porcelain such as Ko-Kutani, the Yoshidaya kiln, the Miyamotoya kiln established the traditional styles originally.
Kutani is the pottery of Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan. As my friend says, it is the traditional popular pottery same with IMARI. Please see more information along with the following at website Kutani-Imus or the Kutani Art Museum, and there is a page specifically in English written by the founders of the museum.
A great site for more information for collectors is the Kutani Ceramic Website.
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