A set of three Imari porcelain vases

Edo Period, 18th century, Japan

Height: approx. 58 cm, 22.8 inches. Diameter: 20 cm, 7.9 inches

This set of three vases forms a garniture de cheminée, (an uneven number set of three, five and seven vases decorated en suite), and designed for the export market. They were usually placed on top of chimney mantels or large cupboards. This set is a combination of vases of two different forms, two with a flared mouth and one with a straight mouth. The vases are richly decorated in the Imari palette with underglaze blue and iron-red, green, aubergine and gilt enamel. Round the sides are two kidney shaped panels with landscape scenes, and poem-slip panels of blossoms reserved on a ground of formalized scrolling in gold against an inky under glaze blue.

The shoulder has a band of ru-yi clouds with quatrefoil panels of butterflies. Bands of peonies and chrysanthemum scrolls decorate both the neck and foot.

Similar Examples

A set of vases in Victoria & Albert Museum’s London, inventory number C. 1508-1910 – C. 1512-1910 and published in John Ayers et al., Porcelain for Palaces: The Fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1750, London, 1990, p. 215, no. 223.

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Similar vases in Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, 23.225.152

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