Japanese blue white Imari Charger Meiji era
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Antique Imari charger with a Sometsuke (blue underglaze) decoration depicting 3 scholars or merchants going over records in a fenced in garden under an ancient tree. The charger measuring 18.25" diameter has normal crazing and a small old time crack near the 10-o'clock position (see images). This Imari charger would make a great gift or addition to any fine collection.
Background: Japanese porcelain was first produced in the early 17th century in a small town called Arita located in the northern part of Kyushu island , which is the southernmost island of the four main islands of Japan. Towards the end of the 16th century, Hideyoshi Toyotomi the ruler of Japan at that time, sent his army to invade Korea twice. The feudal Lord Nabeshima, who also participated in the invasions with his troops, forced a Korean master potter named Ri Sampei and his potters group to come to Japan. It is generally accepted that this Korean potter discovered a large kaolin deposit in lzumiyama mountain in Arita, and that he successfully produced white porcelain for the first time in Japan. In 1648, Nabeshima's feudal clan government placed Arita under its strict administration in order to protect and promote porcelain manufacture in Arita, as well as prevent the leakage of the porcelain making technique to other feudal clans. It also limited porcelain trade with merchants from other feudal clans to the nearby port town of Imari.
Arita porcelain intended for trade was shipped from Imari port to other districts of Japan and even to foreign countries through Nagasaki. For this reason, Arita porcelain produced in the Edo period is now called "Old Imari." After 1639, Japan adopted the policy of national isolation. During that period, Holland and China were the only countries allowed to trade with Japan. Nagasaki port was the only open window to foreign countries. In those days, The Dutch East India Company was making enormous profits importing spices from the East and ceramics from China to Europe. However, around the middle of the 17th century, it had become difficult to trade with China, because of disturbance in the last years of the Ming dynasty. Therefore, The Dutch East India Company ordered a great amount of porcelain from Arita.
From 1653 to the end of the Edo period, more than two million pieces of Arita porcelain were exported to south-eastern countries and even all the way to Europe through the port of Nagasaki. European royalty and nobility gorgeously decorated their rococo style palaces and mansions with "Imari."Imari ware was their status symbol. In all ages and countries, regardless of East and West, "Old Imari" has enriched the lives of many people.
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- 19th Century
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