Explore highlights
Porcelain figure of a carouser astride a barrel


Height: 36.500 cm

Gift of Lt.-Col. Dingwall DSO through the National Art Collections Fund

Asia JA 1927.11-14.1


    Porcelain figure of a carouser astride a barrel

    From Arita, Kyūshū, Japan
    Edo period, late 17th century AD

    The first Japanese porcelain was made in the early decades of the seventeenth century at Arita in Kyūshū by immigrant Korean potters who brought the necessary technology with them. By the second half of the century Japan had taken over much of the Chinese export market for porcelain (while China itself was in confusion with the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644). Japanese contacts with the outside world were limited by law during most of the Edo period (1600-1868): trade was conducted through Dutch and Chinese trading posts in Nagasaki harbour. Porcelain wares for Europe were sometimes produced to specifications provided by the Dutch merchants.

    This figure of a European sitting drinking on a beer barrel is based on a Dutch faience original. Versions exist also with colour enamelling.

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