Porzellan Potpourri Chinoiserie 02

Magnificent Potpourri Centerpiece

France, second half of the 19th century

Gild­ed ornate stand in a round shape with three promi­nent pedestals, each adorned with lion’s paws, acan­thus leaves, and orna­men­tal motifs. The cen­ter of the base is designed in the form of a large flame.

The three feet, enclos­ing a gild­ed bowl, are crowned with an acan­thus leaf frame and tran­si­tion into the Imari-style pot­pour­ri bowl.

Above the large porce­lain bowl, there is an intri­cate­ly pierced gallery dec­o­rat­ed with lau­rel leaf gar­lands, upon which sits the lid, craft­ed with a knob in the shape of three large acan­thus leaves and crowned with a large pineapple.

The porce­lain bowl and the final lid are exe­cut­ed in the Kakiemon style, known for del­i­cate imagery and a sub­tle col­or palette rang­ing from shades of orange, yel­low, blue to turquoise.

The fine paint­ing depicts a land­scape scene with Japan­ese fig­ures car­ry­ing umbrel­las and fans, and Japan­ese cher­ry blos­som trees, also known as Saku­ra trees. The imagery is sur­round­ed by del­i­cate­ly paint­ed leaf and flower garlands.

Large pot­pour­ri cen­ter­pieces like this were made in the 18th and 19th cen­turies for noble hous­es. They were filled with fra­grant flow­ers and oils, which would release their pleas­ant scent even when the piece was closed, thanks to the pierced gallery.

About the Porcelain:

The name Imari porce­lain” orig­i­nates from the small port of Imari near Ari­ta, from where the goods were trans­port­ed to the Dutch East India Com­pa­ny’s set­tle­ment in Nagasa­ki. Both Ari­ta and Imari are locat­ed in the present-day Saga Pre­fec­ture in the north­ern part of Kyushu Island.

The name Kakiemon porce­lain” derives from the Sakai­da Kakiemon fam­i­ly busi­ness near the city of Ari­ta in the Hizen province. Kakiemon was the first in Japan to devel­op a poly­chrome style for porce­lain paint­ing around 1643, using import­ed pig­ments from Chi­na that could be fired onto the ini­tial glaze.

He intro­duced a paint­ing style influ­enced by Chi­nese porce­lain from the time of Emper­or Kangxi, fea­tur­ing sketch-like lines, water­col­or-like appli­ca­tion of col­ors, and asym­met­ri­cal com­po­si­tions leav­ing large areas unpaint­ed. Kakiemon porce­lain is a sub­cat­e­go­ry of Ari­ta porce­lain and belongs to the group of Imari porcelains.

The Kakiemon style devel­oped by Sakai­da Kakiemon in the ear­ly 17th cen­tu­ry is still cher­ished by his descen­dants to this day. It is char­ac­ter­ized by an excep­tion­al­ly del­i­cate col­or palette (per­sim­mon orange, yel­low, blue, turquoise, etc.) and orna­men­tal pat­terns applied on a white background.

The dis­cov­ery of this porce­lain for Europe is cred­it­ed to Zacharias Wag­n­er, a Dres­den mer­chant who served as the chief mer­chant of the Dutch East India Com­pa­ny and took charge of the Deji­ma set­tle­ment in Nagasa­ki for a year in 1656. The first major order for Europe was placed in 1659, and from 1757 onwards, these porce­lain pieces were export­ed to Europe in large quantities.

Euro­pean porce­lain man­u­fac­tur­ers start­ed incor­po­rat­ing Imari-style porce­lains, espe­cial­ly from the mid-18th cen­tu­ry, fol­low­ing a boom in the 19th cen­tu­ry for Asian porcelains.

Lit­er­a­ture on Imari Porcelain:

Peter Pantzer: Imari-Porzel­lan am Hofe der Kaiserin Maria There­sia. Het­jens-Muse­um-Deutsches Keramik­mu­se­um, Düs­sel­dorf 2000.

Georges Le Gars: Imari, His­toire d’un style, faïences et porce­laines du Japon, de Chine et d’Europe. Massin, Paris 2004.

Georges Le Gars: Les Imari anglais. Massin, Paris 2007.

S. Noma (Ed.): Ari­ta ware. In: Japan. An Illus­trat­ed Ency­clo­pe­dia. Kodan­sha, 1993, p. 53.

Masako Shono: Japanis­ches Ari­ta­porzel­lan im soge­nan­nten Kakiemon­stil“ als Vor­bild für die Meißen­er Porzel­lan­man­u­fak­tur. Schnei­der, München 1973 (dis­ser­ta­tion, Uni­ver­si­ty of Bonn 1971).

Porzellan Potpourri Chinoiserie 05
Potpourri Centerpiece H: 70 cm, Dm: 34 cm
Porzellan Potpourri Chinoiserie 03
Porzellan Potpourri Chinoiserie 04
Porzellan Potpourri Chinoiserie 06