From our Japanese Collection, a very fine and very early imari charger, late 17th - early 18th century (circa 1690-1730), decorated with a flower pot, a scholar’s rock, and a large tree in full bloom upon a terraced pavilion, all executed in the typical early imari palette of blue, orange-red, and gilt, with the border done in a rich brocade of flower motifs.
Ordinarily, we do not gravitate much towards early Japanese imari simply on aesthetic grounds. These earlier pieces, while of course quite collectable and more scarce (and more expensive) than their later Meiji Period counterparts, tend to be somewhat dull in our opinion, and we find them generally less attractive. It's simply a matter of taste, and of course we do not mean to disparage the group which for many Collectors, is a very desirable group. But aesthetically speaking, many Collectors will agree that the blues from this period are often a duller, less vibrant greyish blue, the orange-red somewhat muted, and the porcelain paste a heavy dull grey which dampens contrast with the enamels. It seems that with exception of the Nigoshide style of highly levigated (whiter) porcelain used in certain Kakiemon wares and smaller porcelain plates, this duller grey porcelain paste is common on these large, early Japanese imari/arita wares. But it should be noted nevertheless, that all these factors we just mentioned which for some like us, point to a less vibrant aesthetic, are still actually the very hallmarks and indicia of authenticity that true early imari pieces from the late 1600's to early 1700's should exhibit.
All that said, we happen to have pounced on this particular charger precisely because IT IS an unusually attractive example of its genre, with a very lavish use of gilding that survived remarkably well, and which gives this piece the sizzle that many others lack. We think it is truly a standout for its type. Additionally, the balance provided by use of just enough negative space / white ground in the backdrop of the flower pot, gives this piece nice symmetry, and shows it to be a finely executed, well thought-out example overall.
Size and Condition: 14 inches in diameter, 2 inches deep, very light wear to the gilding and enamels, some wear to the footrim commensurate with age, essentially perfect.