Offered by Franck Baptiste Paris
16th to 19th century furniture and works of art
Delicate pair of hexagonal shaped porcelain saké bottles, transformed into vases and mounted on bronze in the early 18th century. The porcelain is decorated with blue on a white background, with Japanese apricot trees and birds. The whole is delicately enhanced with gold and "kakiémon "* enamels of green, red and yellow.
The bronze mounting consists of a hoop in the upper part, on the neck, and a hoop in the lower part, supported by six small leafy melons.
Very good condition. (A slight hair on the neck on a vase).
A number is written in ink on the reverse " 1 ? 74 ", probably corresponding to a date.
Arita kiln, Saga prefecture, Japan, around 1670-1680 for the porcelain.
Paris, early 18th century for the gilt bronze mount.
Height : 20 cm ; Diameter : 13 cm.
Our opinion :
Coming out of the Arita kilns in the years 1670-1690, our pair of sake bottles was exported to Europe by the very powerful "VOC" (Dutch East India Company) which had established a trading post in the land of the rising sun since the middle of the 17th century. This type of porcelain was among the very first to be exported to Europe, even before the great trade with China. This porcelain, practically unknown in Europe, was reserved for a princely elite ; it was so expensive at that time that it was collected for the material itself. This is why our pair of bottles was diverted from its utilitarian use and cut to be mounted into vases. Contrary to the rocaille mounts which will make the essential of the price of the pieces of this type in the following century, it is here the porcelain which is highlighted by a discrete base, like a sculpture.
In addition to its rare hexagonal shape, our porcelain has a particularly refined decoration on a very white enamel background with a blue decoration enriched with the very first kakiémon enamels which will make the international reputation of Arita porcelain, to the point that many European factories will imitate this very particular decoration.
This type of primitive pieces is extremely rare nowadays, the majority being preserved in major museums.
* Kakiémon" is named after the Japanese potter who introduced the art of glazing, Sakaida Kakiémon. The first Kakiémon patterned porcelain was made in the Arita workshops in Saga Prefecture in the mid-17th century. These places are currently listed as a National Historic Site of Japan. Also, this craft is considered as one of the Japanese cultural heritages. This decorative style is usually done on a milky white background, called nigoshide in Japanese. This background accentuates the delicacy and refinement of the porcelain. The designs of the pattern are structured asymmetrically. However, they maintain a certain form of balance and harmony. Most of the images composed are typical of Japanese culture : chrysanthemum, Japanese apricot tree, bamboo, quail...