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  • Place of origin:

    Arita (made)

  • Date:

    1690-1720 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in underglaze blue, overglaze iron-red enamel and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Given by H.M. Queen Victoria

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA15

  • Public access description

    This large dish decorated in the centre with a vase of flowering branches is a fine example of a type of porcelain made in early 18th-century Japan for export to Europe. On its base there appears a Dresden inventory mark, indicating that the piece came from the collection of the Elector Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, ‘Augustus the Strong’, who died in 1733. The areas of dark blue were achieved by painting with cobalt oxide under a clear glaze and firing to a high temperature in a reducing atmosphere - one in which the kiln is starved of oxygen so that the burning fuel draws chemically bonded oxygen from the reactive parts of the ceramic material, leaving them in a reduced state and changing their colour. The gold, red and other enamel colours were applied and fused on in subsequent, low-temperature firings. The distinctive so-called Imari-style colour scheme was much copied by 18th-century European manufacturers. The term Imari comes from the name of the port in western Japan through which this and other products of the nearby Arita kilns were shipped. Porcelains for export were sent to Nagasaki and then shipped abroad by Chinese and Dutch merchants, the Dutch, who were based on the island of Dejima, being the only Europeans permitted to conduct trade in Japan at this time.

  • Physical description

    Dish of porcelain. White ground, painted with flowering branches in a vase in the centre, and round the margin with phoenixes and flowers in red, blue and gold.

  • Marks and inscriptions

    'N:313+' incised
    Inventory mark of the Dresden Japanese Palace Collection

  • Dimensions

    Diameter: 45.1 cm

  • Object history note

    This dish was formerly in the collection of the Porcelain Palace in Dresden. It was subsequently owned by Queen Victoria, who presented it to the V&A in 1860.

  • Descriptive line

    Dish, porcelain painted in underglaze blue, iron-red enamel and gilt; Japan, Arita kilns (Imari type), Edo period, 1690-1720

  • Collection code

    East Asia Collection