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Arita, Hizen province [Japan]

 Vases mounted in gilt bronze vases: c.1690-1720, mounts: 1725-50

Porcelain painted in underglaze blue, overglaze enamel colours and gold, mounted in gilt bronze | 34.9 x 28 x 20.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 12

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Carp (koi) in swirling water represent the strength and determination of the samurai. The motif stems from Chinese tradition, which tells of fish attempting to swim upstream at the Dragon Gate rapids, impeded by demons. The rippling form of the jar’s French mounts mimics turbulent water.