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Hirado ware ring-handled jar

 

Height: 26.300 cm

Gift of David H. King

Asia JA 1986.6-31.1

    Hirado ware ring-handled jar

    From Japan
    Meiji era, after August 1871

    Porcelain decorated in underglaze blue

    This jar is a good example of the underglaze blue Hirado ware porcelain which was so popular in the West at the end of the nineteenth century. However, this piece uses distinctly Japanese motifs - the pines and cranes, symbols of long life often used at New Year. The rings hang from moulded shishi (leonine beast) heads.

    The jar provides an example of how an inscription can help us to date an object. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan was divided into new administrative units called prefectures. This occurred in August 1871. The jar's signature - 'Dai Nippon Nagasaki ken Mikawachi Satomi Takejirō' ('Satomi Nakajirō of Mikawachi in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan') - must have been inscribed after this date.

    L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)