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Edo Period Arita Vase – Figure with a Tray

Edo Period Arita Vase – Figure with a Tray


Underglaze blue Japanese export porcelain vase, c. 1670.


Dimensions: Approximately 7 ¾” tall.



The vase with a spherical body and spreading neck and stands on a low foot.


Two blue bands encircle the mouth of the vase.


The body is decorated with a continuous landscape with a figure who appears to be carrying a tray and two seated people. In the landscape are rocks, trees and plants.


The base is unmarked.


With the disruption of the Jingdezhen kilns in the middle of the 17the century, the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC) turned to Japan to provide porcelain for the Dutch market. This was primarily blue and white wares produced at the Arita kilns.


Blue-and white plates and dishes were usually decorated in the Wanli Kraak style, i.e. a border divided into twelve or more sections of at least two patterns with a pictorial center design.


Blue and white holloware like this vase was often based on European stoneware and earthenware forms and usually decorated in the Chinese Transitional style. These were likely based on wooden or earthenware models that were sent from Holland and that may have been decorated in Delft based on existing Chinese examples. This could account for the divergences from the original Chinese decorative style, such as the exaggerated elongated figures that are sometimes found.


By the 1680s, the Jingdezhen kilns were back in operation, producing porcelain for export in larger quantities and at lower cost than the Japanese kilns. Consequently, imports from Japan rapidly declined.



Barry Davis Oriental Art, “Ko-Imari Porcelain from the Collection of Oliver Impey”.

Impey, “Japanese Export Porcelain”.

Jorg, “Fine & Curious, Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections”.

MacGuire, “Four Centuries of Blue & White”.


Condition: In excellent condition consistent with age and usage. Please examine the photos; they are part of the description.

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