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Japanese Porcelains
Drum-Shaped Pillow
Japan, Saga Prefecture; Edo period (1615-1867), late 18th - early 19th century
Porcelain painted with overglaze enamels and gold (Arita ware, Imari style)
W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); D. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Small white cherry blossoms, outlined by gold and set against a red background, embellish both the main body and the side ends of this drum-shaped porcelain pillow. The deep colors and dense patterning are characteristic of enameled Imari ware. For fashionable women of the time, including high-ranking courtesans, pillows like this would have protected their elaborately coiffed hair. Ceramic pillows have a long history in East Asia, although unlike in China and Korea, in Japan they were rarely made of stoneware. This piece is an example of enameled Imari ware made for the domestic market rather than for export.
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