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Ko-Imari (Old Imari) Japanese porcelain

Among the Edo-period porcelain produced in the Hizen region, there is a ware known as early Imari, which is blue-and-white porcelain made until the 1640s.

Porcelain decorated with overglaze enamels and influenced by the Chinese Jingdezhen wares with wucai (five color) and kinrande (brocade) decorations began to be produced during the 1690s. This type of ware is known as Ko-Imari style.

In 1659, as exports from Jingdezhen were halted, Arita kilns received large orders of ware for export to Southeast Asia and Europe. Incorporating the wucai ware of the late Ming dynasty as well as the baroque taste which was popular in Europe at the time, Arita kilns developed the elaborately decorated ware known as somenishiki-de, which became the major export item.

In the Genroku era (1688-1704), imitating the kinrande ware from Jingdezhen ware of the Jiajing (1522-66) and Wanli (1573-1619) periods, gold decoration was applied to somenishiki-de ware, creating its unique kinrande style. This was to replace Kakiemon style ware in responding to domestic demand, and as the main product of the export porcelain, also satisfied demand in Europe.

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