A pair of Imari porcelain Mandarin ducks
Edo period late 17th / early 18th century, Japan
Length: 28cm, 11.02 inches
Each bird is modelled swimming forwards with open bill, feathers closed around the body with the exception of a group which rise like a fin in the middle of the back and below the raised tail feathers. Two webbed feet are partly visible and kicked back thus increasing the feeling of forward motion. The decoration on the feather work is painted in a variety of subdued colours with three shades of brown, two shades of red, black, green, and gilt all against a white ground. The birds do not form a function other that being ceramic sculptures in their own right.
Treasures of Asian Art, The Asia Society’s Rockefeller 3rd Collection, by Denise Leidy, Asia Society New York figure 264, the illustrated examples painted in a Kakiemon palette.
Another unpublished example is in the collection at Petworth house West Sussex.