1890 Oriental 2 Japanese Arita Imari Meiji Period Porcelain Rice Bowls
These are 2 small and beautiful circa 1890's Imari slop bowls or rice bowls each measuring 5 inches in diameter. They are decorated both inside and out with Imari floral embellishments. One has a center cobalt blue bulbous vase which holds a tall Japanese flower arrangement. The other has a large handled wicker basket of flowers, also in arrangement. There are polychrome Imari colours of reds, cobalt blue, deep and pastel oranges, white with light touches of green. Each bowl has a typical oriental pedestal rim. They may have also been used as slop bowls in the English tea tradition.
Historically, the two towns of Arita and Imari are located in the Nishimatsuura District, Saga, Japan. The area is famous for pottery, porcelain or ceramic production, much like the Staffordshire pottery trade in England, although centuries earlier. Arita was one of the first sites to produce porcelain about 400 years ago, when Kaolin was found there in abundance. The trade calls it Arita Ware, Imari Arita Ware, or simply Imari, which is honoured as an important traditional craft of Japan.
In general, "Imari" is also a term coined by westerners for the popular Japanese export porcelain made in the Arita area, decorated in cobalt blue, reds, gold, and black made to copy Japanese ware. Other colours can also be present. The Arita and Imari wares were in export heavily to European countries from the 1600's to the early 20th century. Staffordshire, England made a massive trade in copying the Arita designs.
These bowls were made during the 1868-1912 Meiji Period in Japanese history. This corresponds to the reign of Emperor Meiji in the mid to late English Victorian years. There was an extreme interest in Chinoiserie design in England at this time, and also a long history before with the Chinese export trade. This era was when an ancient and isolated Japan moved closer to a more Westernised society.
These 2 lovely old pieces were found together in Kingsbridge, Devon, England. Click images to see condition in close up views. The bottom unglazed rim shows wear and a uneven edge on the "vase" bowl, which may have occurred in the manufacturing process, with the top rim smooth and clean, and in wonderful condition. The "basket" bowl's bottom rim is somewhat less rough, and overall it is clean and bright, with a deep terra cotta orange colouring. It has a what appears to be a top rim flake that has been repaired, it must be scrutinized closely to see it.
These bowls were packed into wooden crates filled with hay, then loaded onto ships in Japanese ports bound for a long sea journey. They arrived to English ports and new owners. These small and beautiful old original Japanese export rice bowls hold well in your hand. The bottom underglaze blue hand painted running edge trim is exquisite on both, and we feel it shows they traveled the years together from the same artist or family of artists in that area. See close up photos. The price is for both.
Size: 5 inch diameter, 2.5 inches high for each (2 total)
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Book: Anthology of British Cups, Michael Berthoud 1982 (Coffee Cans too)