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Gourd-Shaped Bottle
Japan, Saga Prefecture; Edo period (1615-1867), about 1660 - 1680
Porcelain painted with overglaze enamels (Arita ware)
H. 10 3/8 in. (26.4 cm); D. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The shape of this bottle almost certainly takes after the gourd-shaped ceramics of China. Its main body is decorated with a twisting pine tree and a plum tree -- two popular plant motifs symbolizing longevity and winter -- with floating cloudlike forms filled with basket-weave patterns. During the second half of the 17th century, porcelain produced at kilns in the northern Kyushu village of Arita was enameled not at the kilns themselves but at a separate enamelers' quarter (aka-e-machi) within the town.
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