Important Cultural PropertyBowl with picture of birds and flowers in overglaze enamels

Save Image

image 全画面表示


  • Imari (Kakiemon style)
  • 1 piece
  • H21.4 aperture D30.3 bottom D16.5
  • Edo period/17th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • G-5101

It was in 1659 when the Imariyaki kiln began firing items for export to Western Europe. This resulted in the completion of iro-e (on-glaze decoration using color glazes) pottery in a unique, beautiful style. It is now collectively called Kakiemon-style iro-e pottery. This large and deep iro-e bowl with a bird and flower motif is typical of the Kakiemon style and believed to have been created in the 1680s, 20 years after the beginning of pottery exports.
While it was originally a container with a nicely curved lid with a lion-shaped lug, the lid has been lost and only the body has been passed down to the present. It is now called a large, deep bowl. Different from the milky-white ground unique to the Kakiemon style, the ground of this one has a slightly bluish color in the transparent glaze, which is probably due to the blue border lines that are drawn to divide the surface area for different patterns. Similar pottery of this type that has a blue-and-white ground all shows the same glaze tendency. On this bluish white ground, two birds resting on Taiko rocks (porous rock found near Lake Taiko in China) on two sides of the bowl and a motif of chrysanthemum and peony with big flowers growing into two directions on other two sides are drawn in a stylized manner in bright, clear red, green, yellow, lapis lazuli and black via the yusai technique (a technique where layers of different color glazes are used to create a beautiful gradation of colors). While the rich composition with a wide margin follows the example of the original iro-e pottery created by the kilns in Jingdezhen, China, the style of this one is much more elegant, indicating that the Chinese iro-e style has been completely Japanized. While all similar works have been handed down in Western Europe, only this one has been passed down in Japan.