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Arita, Hizen province [Japan]

Matched pair of hexagonal jars and covers 1670-90

Porcelain painted in ‘Kakiemon-style’ enamel colours and gilt | H (overall) 31.5 cm, 31.5 cm, (jar only) 26.9 cm, 26.9 cm (whole object) | RCIN 1094

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Jars in this form and style are known as ‘Hampton Court vases’ because Mary II displayed many vessels of this kind in the palace in the late seventeenth century. Rather than being thrown on a potter’s wheel, the hexagonal body of each jar was hand-fashioned in slabs and then painstakingly assembled.