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Arita, Hizen province [Japan]

Pair of wall vases with mounts vases: 1650-1700, mounts: first half 18th century

Porcelain with blue and brown glazes with gilt bronze | 25.8 x 12.0 x 10.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 3574

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The motifs on this vase demonstrate the strong influence of Chinese design on early Japanese export porcelain. In Mandarin, the word for ‘squirrel’ sounds like ‘pine’, and the word for ‘grape’ sounds like ‘peach’. Pines and peaches are symbols of longevity in China, and so the combination of bushy-tailed squirrels and grapevines is a cleverly expressed wish for long life.