DATE: 1611-1661 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted with underglaze and overglaze enamels

Transitional period porcelain was characterised by relatively thick and well-potted wares, finished with a smooth, clear glaze and appearing quite different to Chinese ceramics produced up to this point. The Japanese market were large consumers of Chinese porcelain, supplying paper patterns and wooden models to Chinese merchants to work from. Known as ‘Shonzui’, unusual shaped vessels were produced in Japanese tastes with brightly coloured enamel decoration depicting Chinese motifs. The central reserves on this example depict stylised plum blossom on one side and camellias on the other, both symbols of the coming of spring. The diaper pattern on the main body of the vessel is typical of Japanese export ware in the ‘wucai’ style, or five colours, originating from the Jiajing period (1522-1572). The bold colouring on this example mark it as a piece destined for the ‘damiyo-cha’, a certain type of tea ceremony practised by aristocratic ladies that favoured brighter porcelain wares.