Japanese and Chinese antiques and art from B & C
Shonsui Style Imari Bowl with Horsemen Roundels

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Porcelain: Pre 1900: item # 520518

Please refer to our stock # 2B-794 when inquiring.

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B & C   Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418

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Shonsui Style Imari Bowl with Horsemen Roundels

The exterior of this handsome Japanese Arita porcelain bowl is wonderfully decorated with allover randomly arranged roundels hand painted in underglaze blue and soft overglaze enamels on a clear white ground. Ca. 1850-1875. This bowl is unusual inasmuch as it was decorated in classic heirloom shonsui style but was done so with vivid polychrome enamels and gilt in addition to the more typical underglaze blue designs. The base bears an apocryphal four character reign mark of the Chinese Ming dynasty emperor Chia Ching in underglaze blue. The outside of the bowl has twelve thick rimmed roundels with plain and diapered borders, each containing a horse with a lone rider. The roundels are painted in variations of underglaze blue, overglaze green, iron red, yellow and gilt. A scrolling vine and flower design in blue, yellow and green surrounds the high foot rim, which is encircled with two blue lines. The inside is simply decorated in underglaze blue, with two riders in a landscape painted in the central medallion. A thick diapered band containing reserve panels of pine, plum and bamboo (“shochikubai”) and an unidentified flower surrounds the lip, which is gilded.

“Shonsui” wares were Chinese blue and white porcelains imported into Japan in the mid-17th century. They were decorated with a repertoire of designs, much to the Japanese taste, in which a variety of brocaded patterns were often juxtaposed with small pictures in roundels. Beginning in the 18th century, these greatly admired Chinese decorating styles were copied by the Japanese, who combined refined technique with freedom of decoration in a way that was typically Japanese. According to noted Japanese porcelain expert Irene Finch in “Japanese Shonsui in Evolution,” the Shonsui style aimed to produce contrast and novelty by allowing known contrasting design ideas to exist side by side -- formality with informality, Chinese with Japanese -- all within a controlled whole. Condition is excellent. Dimensions: 5 ¼” diameter, 3” high.

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