A large Kakiemon vase, 17th century

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Lot 9001
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar
Edo Period

Sold for US$ 76,000 inc. premium
Japanese Works of Art

Japanese Ceramics
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar
Edo Period
Its faceted sides decorated in polychrome enamels with paired scenes of a Chinese gentleman attended by a seated youth holding a parasol on a stylized river bank framed by Chinese fan palms on the left, and a curving pine supported by a tall, fanciful garden rock on the right, the figural scenes separated by elaborate bird and flower subjects featuring a peacock dramatically posed atop a rocky spire and surrounded by flowering chrysanthemums, the high octagonal neck painted with an elaborate green foliate scroll and red chrysanthemum heads, above a band of auspicious symbols between lappet bands to the shoulder, double and single bands in red enamel above the foot (crack to neck and body, losses to enamels).
Height 21in (53.3 cm)

Footnotes

  • Note: for another massive octagonal jar, see Nihon toji: Idemitsu Bijutsukan zohin zuroku (Japanese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection) (Tokyo: Idemitsu Bijutsukan, 1990), no. 520 [Height 61.5cm including lid]. The sumptuous decorative scheme of the Bonhams jar includes motifs found on many Kakiemon wares from the early Edo period. For examples, a foliate bowl from the Saga Prefectural Museum is decorated on three lobes with projecting earthen banks whose smooth, flat upper surfaces are notched and vertical supports striated with parallel lines in a similar manner; one lobe bears a broad-leafed plant like that painted at the base of the palms on the jar; and the foliate scroll in the bowl's well is close to that on the jar neck (See Nagatake Takeshi, Classic Japanese Porcelain: Imari and Kakiemon (New York: Kodansha, 2003), p. 46, no. 47). The chrysanthemum plant to the right of the peacock on the jar shares many details with the decoration on a hexagonal bottle from the Saga Prefectural Museum (Nagatake, p.37, no. 18). Birds with long tail-feathers are found on several Kakiemon jars (see Hayashiya Seizo, ed. Kakiemon, vol. 9 of Nihon no toji (Tokyo: Chuo Koronsha, 1988), no. 43-44, 46). Although the peacock is a relatively unusual theme, the detailed treatment of the bird's body and tail feathers is paralleled in wall tiles from Nishi-Honganji temple, decorated with dragon medallions (Nagatake, p. 42, no. 34). The Chinese figures and parasol recall the decoration of several ovoid Kakiemon style jars that have appeared at auction in recent years (see for example Christies New York, March 2001, lot 205). Also, losses to the green enamels are consistent with surface degradation on several early Edo examples (e.g., the lobed bowl, cited above).

    Nonetheless, the exuberance of the design on the Bonams jar runs counter to one's expectations for typical early Edo Kakiemon. Lacking the spare, elegant balance of decorated and blank ground characteristic of many Kakiemon pieces, the densely packed motifs on this jar compete for the viewer's attention. Certain anomalous elements appear as well: the tall, elaborately decorated neck, the Chinese fan palm sprouting from the bank, and the towering rock spires are all unusual features, adding to the difficulty of placing this piece securely among comparable published examples.
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
A large Kakiemon vase, 17th century
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
An Arita ware Kakiemon style octagonal porcelain jar Edo Period
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