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Octagonal Jar
Japan, Saga Prefecture; Edo period (1615-1867), 18th century
Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue and overglaze enamels, with traces of gold (Arita ware, Imari style)
H. 17 5/8 in. (44.8 cm); D. 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Elegantly attired courtesans and attendants strolling along a country retreat fill the main body of the jar, while a combination of fantastic creatures, flowers, clouds and red cartouches crowded with Buddhist symbols -- parasol, canopy, lotus, vase, fish, sea slug, endless knot, and wheel -- decorate its upper and lower tiers. The style of the women's dresses (kimono) and hairdos reveal their status as high-ranking courtesans and also reflect the fashion in vogue during the Kanbun and Genroku eras (1661-1688). Many of the Imari ware exported to Europe during the late 17th- and early 18th century included large eight-sided jars like this piece.
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