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Octagonal Jar
Japan, Saga Prefecture; Edo period (1615-1867), late 17th century
Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue (Arita ware)
H. 20 1/8 in. (51.1 cm); W. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
This large, octagonal jar is a typical example of export Imari ware of the late 17th century, destined for the European market. As with many export porcelain of the period, the decorative motifs of this jar are closely based on those of contemporary Chinese porcelain, especially ones imported into Japan. Painted in cobalt blue and filling the entire surface of the jar is an idyllic landscape centered on a group of Chinese scholars boating along a river. It is unclear whether European consumers would have appreciated this jar as a Japanese-made porcelain in the Chinese style, or whether they would simply have considered it a Chinese product, with which they were familiar.
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