Material Porcelain
Dimensions H. 60 cm D. 37 cm (23.6 x 14.6 in.)
Place of Creation China
Status Vetted

About the Work

A striking pair of covered jars, decorated all over in underglaze blue with overglaze red enamels and gilding. The rich decoration around the body of these jars is of rockeries with a pheasant perched on flowering peony bushes and exotic birds in flight. The neck has a border of scrolling flowers and the lid a decoration matching the main body, with a lotus bud finial. The foot-rim is edged with a double blue line and the bases are unglazed. These are large examples and often used as chimney pots, placed in an empty fireplace during the summer time.

This type of lavish porcelain decoration, referred to as Chinese Imari, has the distinctive colour scheme of blue, iron-red and gold, inspired by Japanese Imari porcelain. After the fall of the Ming dynasty - in the latter half of the 17th century - there was a downturn of porcelain production in China. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) looked for a substitute source for these lucrative trade goods. They turned to Japan as an alternative, where porcelain including the distinctive red painted aka-e wares, were exported from the port of Imari. These wares became very popular in Europe, where they were appreciated for their bright colouring. After the Chinese porcelain trade resumed, they copied this popular new red colourway, devolving into a distinct style in itself.

An similar pair can be found in the Dresden porcelain collection (PO 5429 & 5430). The Topkapi collection, Istanbul also has several comparable jars (TKS 15/4109-10 & TKD15/4064).

The East Asian Museum, Stockholm two similar pairs but with fo dog finials (CXV-1731-AB & 1732AB) and a ginger jar with the same decor (BS-0482). The Royal Collection Trust (UK), has a smaller jar with similar decoration (RCIN3339a.b). The RA Collection has a similarly decorated jar, in just underglaze blue enamels.

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Private Collection, Belgium


  • 1986
  • Published in Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul Vol III, by Regina Krahl, page no.s 2968 & 2969, p. 937
  • 2001
  • Published in La Maladie de Porcelaine, by Eva Ströber, page p. 90 nr. 38
  • 1974
  • Published in The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, by Jan Wirgin, page pl. 59