Japanese Arita Porcelain Vase

17th century, Japan

Height: 56 cm, 22.05 inches. Diameter: 33 cm, 12.99 inches

This long necked bottle with everted mouth rim has a bulbous body seated on a short circular foot with the porcelain on the inside of the base glased. The main decoration is contained within a wide band around the body depicting a continuous scene of peacocks amongst flowering plants and rock work. One side shows a peacock standing on a high rock flanked by prunus trees, the bird looks to the left but the body and tail feathers are depicted head on, the latter fanning out in dramatic style. The opposite side shows another peacock also on a high rock work base, looking behind with tail feathers lowered and flanked by chrysanthemum flowers and peony bushes. The design is painted in underglaze blue of two shades, highlighted with gilding against a white background.

Above the short foot and below the main band is a simple stylised lotus band, the shoulder of the vase has four separate and different repeating bands of lappet decoration, the neck with a more elaborate continuous and repeating design of lotus flowers, leaves and scrolls.

Similar Examples

‘Porcelain for Palaces’, by Ayers, Impey and Mallet, Oriental Ceramics Society 1990, figure 43. This piece is close in shape. Figure 144 for similar painted decoration.

‘Fine and Curious’, Japanese export porcelain in Dutch collections by Christiaan Jorg, figure 23. The bottle depicted is decorated with a Peacock symbolising dignity and beauty. The bird is depicted frontally and the text mentions that this is unusual in the Japanese rendering of animals.

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