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Arita Rolwagen Vase

Edo Period Arita Rolwagen Vase – Group with Parasol


Underglaze blue porcelain vase from the Arita kilns, c. 1670.


Dimensions: Approximately 8” tall



The neck is decorated with a band with hanging points.


The body is decorated with a continuous representation of a landscape with three people standing with a parasol, another group of three seated people, and an individual who appears to be carrying a plant. In the landscape are rocks, trees and plants.


The base is unmarked.


A similar vase with this decoration is illustrated Jorg, “Fine & Curious, Japanese Export Porcelain in Dutch Collections” at page 32.


This style of vase is often referred to as having a “rolwagen” form, i.e., a straight sided cylindrical vase with a short shoulder and flared neck. The derivation of the term is uncertain but is the traditional Dutch name for this shape of vase which has become commonly used.


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 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: Minor glaze flaws; otherwise in excellent condition consistent with age and usage. Please examine the photos; they are part of the description.

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