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Arita, Hizen province [Japan]

Pair of hexagonal jars and covers 1670-90

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

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A pair of hexagonal Kakiemon-style porcelain jars and covers. Each with six gently curved sides tapering to the foot, rounded shoulder and straight hexagonal neck, the flat base unglazed; the low, domed cover with projecting rim, unglazed infitting flange, and flat knob finial.

Painted in rich blue, green, yellow, red, brown and black, with gilt details, RCIN 1094.2 repeating the design of RCIN 1094.1, but in reverse. Three main designs each fill a panel spreading across two faces, framed on either side by a border of leaves. One shows two blue cranes, one swooping down and the other standing under an arching pine tree beside a blue rock and a flowering camellia. In a second panel, a woman in a blue coat admires a flowering prunus, holding a fan and a spray over her shoulder. In the third, a yellow-breasted bird perches on a stem of bamboo and another with blue wings rises to meet it. Round the shoulder, a leafy scroll in green and blue is interrupted at alternate corners by three fan-tailed birds in red and yellow; and round the neck is a key-fret border in red. The cover design repeats that of the shoulder.

Text adapted from Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: Volume I.