Relevant categories: Chinese Porcelain,Porcelain
Imari porcelain is a type of Arita wear from the kilns of Arita in what was the Hizen province of china. It was heavily exported to Europe between the second half of the 17th and first half of the 18th centuries. Imari porcelain was sold to Europe through the Dutch east Indian company and exported from the port of Imari, which is how it got its name.
In 1616, kaolin, an essential ingredient in Chinese porcelain manufacture, was discovered in the Arita area. Kilns quickly sprang up and a booming domestic and export trade followed for over a hundred years until, due to political unrest, most of the kilns were destroyed. This did not completely end the production of Imari porcelain however, and it remains a traditional export to this day.
Popular Imari porcelain decoration ranged from plants, to animals and humans and from sceneries, to abstract art of the time. The finished products were of high quality thanks to the intricate designs, made possible by the under-glaze and over-glaze techniques the craftsmen employed. They used distinctive colour schemes in their artwork, including red, green, blue and gold, although some pieces involve simpler designs that incorporate only one or two of these colours.
The most desirable Imari porcelain among collectors are those pieces made for the domestic market, called Ai-Kutani Imari porcelain. Surviving Ai-Kutani Imari porcelain is rarer and harder to find, and so, far more valuable. After the destruction of the Kilns in the Arita area, the demand for Imari porcelain was still very high, and as demand out-stripped supply, others started copying the style and technique, most noticeably, Japan. Japanese Imari porcelain, although not from the same producers, is still very popular and indistinguishable from the genuine article to all except the most avid collectors.
At Canonbury Antiques we carry a large range of Chinese porcelain, including blue and white porcelain, Ming, Qianlong, Canton, Kangxi and Famille Vert, alongside our range of Chinese Antiques. Much of this Imari and Chinese porcelain is on display in the Canonbury Antiques Hertfordshire showroom so please get in touch for an appointment - we are just 25 minutes north of London in the Herts countryside. We have been in business since the 1960s and can offer trade discounts to interior designers and for bulk purchase. We can ship to anywhere in the world so please get in touch for a shipping quote.
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