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Pair of Covered Hexagonal Jars
Japan, Saga Prefecture; Edo period (1615-1867), 17th century
Porcelain painted with overglaze enamels (Arita ware)
Each, H. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)including cover; W. 7 1/2 in. (18.4 cm)
Estate of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller
These two jars are identical and are decorated with alternating designs of floral sprays and a phoenix on a flowering branch. Some of its features, like the abundant empty space in the composition and the tones of red, green, and blue of the enamels seem to reflect the Kakiemon style. But the use of brown overglaze enamel, which is extremely rare in Kakiemon porcelain, and the darker tone of the body of the jars indicated that this pair was probably produced by contemporaries, and possibly competitors, of the Kakiemon workshop. Jars like these are often called "Hampton Court jars" because their shape resembles that of two famous jars known to have been in the collection of Queen Mary (reigned 1689-1694) of England at Hampton Court.
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