Kakiemon ware lidded jar

From Japan
Edo period, around AD 1680

The Japanese started making porcelain at the end of the sixteenth century using techniques learnt from Korean immigrants. They gradually developed their skills, reaching the height of perfection towards the end of the 1660s when this jar was made.

Kakiemon ware has an opaque white glaze applied over the clay to give an exquisite milky white ground (nigoshide). Against this background the coloured enamel designs can be applied with greater effect. Reds, greens, blues and yellows are commonly used.

Kakiemon ware was first made by Sakaida Kizaemon (1596–1666). He developed a distinctive orangey enamel, the colour of persimmons (Japanese: kaki) and subsequently changed his name to Kakiemon. Three hundred years later, Sakaida Kakiemon XIV (born 1934) is still producing the distinctive porcelain in Saga Prefecture, Northern Kyūshū.

With the decline of the Chinese Ming dynasty (in about AD 1660) Japan took over as the main supplier of export porcelain to Europe, in a trade monopolized by the Dutch East India Company. Objects like this lidded jar came to ornament the stately homes and palaces of Europe, such as Hampton Court. Many copies were made by European ceramists in the eighteenth century.

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More information


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


Height: 27.100 cm

Museum number

Asia JA F478


Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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