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Japanese Arita Ware Blue and White Sake Bottle Tokkuri

Japanese Arita Ware Blue and White Sake Bottle Tokkuri

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Edo period, late 17th or early 18th century, Arita, Hizen Province, Japan.

Magnificent Arita ware blue and white sake bottle decorated with a stylized traditional floral motif with chrysantemums, grasses and lingzhi. Arita ware is a broad term for Japanese porcelain made in the area around the town of Arita, in the former Hizen Province. This was the area where the great majority of early Japanese porcelain, especially Japanese export porcelain, was made. Sake bottles (tokkuri) of this shape, with the lines below the neck to facilitate the tying of a cloth cover, and a bulbous body, exist in different sizes, some undecorated, some over-decorated, but most Japanese decorated in imitation of early Ming style with birds, peonies and pomegranates. The flower pattern on this fantastic globular bottle with long neck was painted with soft brushstrokes, resulting in a fluid appearance and dark cobalt blue coloring. The focus on an isolated motif from nature is characteristic of early Imari (shoki imariporcelain, a style that differed from Chinese porcelain, which would later have a profound effect on Japanese wares.

The Edo period (Edo-jidai), also called the Tokugawa period (Tokugawa jidai) is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyo. The Japanese were early admirers of Chinese blue and white and, despite the difficulties of obtaining cobalt (from Iran via China), soon produced their own blue and white wares, usually in Japanese porcelain, which began to be produced around 1600. As a group, these are called sometsuke. Much of this production is covered by the vague regional term Arita ware, but some kilns, like the high-quality Hirado ware, specialized in blue and white, and made little else. A high proportion of wares from about 1660-1740 were Japanese export porcelain, mostly for Europe.

Excellent condition. Intact. Delicate underglaze deep dark blue color is partially faded, in places suffused with minute bubbles. Minimal hairline cracks. Glazing flaws at the rim. Size approx. 31,0cm x 17,5cm x 17,5cm. 

Provenance: Finnish private collection

References and further reading:

Japanese Art from the Gerry Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Barbara Brennan Ford & Oliver R. Impey, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. 

Edo-Period Japanese Porcelain, Anna Willmann, In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 2011. (

Japanese Ceramics: A Brief History, Henry Trubner, Seattle Art Museum, Ceramic Art of Japan, 1972.

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  • Shipping

    The shipment will be prepared in the course of 3-5 days and dispatched via Posti Group Oyj or purchased item(s) can be picked up from our shop during the store's opening hours (Tarkk’ampujankatu 4, 00140, Helsinki, Finland). Within the Finland, all items are shipped via Posti Group Oyj unless otherwise requested. We pack the items carefully and mainly in recycled materials because we want to save nature. You will receive the tracking number for your items by e-mail.

  • Returns

    Returns and exchange will be accepted within fourteen days (14) of receipt at the purchaser’s cost to include freight and packaging. Items must be returned in the same condition as when they were shipped, and will not be accepted if damaged or altered in any way. Please inform us via email ( or by calling +358408408352 before sending. We do not accept returns more than 14 days after delivery.