A Pair of 17th Century Japanese Blue and White Porcelain Jars

c.1670 - 1680

A Pair 17th Century Japanese Blue and White Porcelain Jars. These Arita porcelain jars are early Japanese export ware dating from c.1670 – 1680. They are painted in rich tones of cobalt blue, mostly executed with a heavily loaded brush, the glaze is a bluish in colour. Both jars are painted with extensive mountainous landscapes with discrete signs of humanity, buildings nestled between the rocks and in the foreground, bridges as well as drying nets. The scenes are almost the same but as you would expect, not identical.

There are some small areas where the piling up of the wet cobalt pigment has become slightly too dense, this has resulted in very small amounts of blackening on the surface. Although the cobalt was applied prior to glazing and is referred to as under-glaze blue, this isn’t really the case. In cross-section the glaze of blue and white shows that it is stained with pigment, it is perhaps better to describe it as in glaze blue. Applied as a black-brown, cobalt oxide rises up into the glaze, and very occasionally it reaches the surface where it oxidises back to black.


One jar has a star-shaped glaze crack to the base, the other has a rim chip. Firing faults - Both jars are warped, the tops are not level, and both wobble a little. One jar has part of the rim bent down, this has a firing chip and a corresponding kiln scar below (where it stuck to something in the kiln). There is some extremely fine kiln dust in the glaze but it hardly shows unless you have the pots very close.
Height about 26 cm (10 1/4 inches)
From a Private English Collection, purchased about fourty years ago.
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