Porcelain with overglaze polychrome enamels (Arita ware, Kakiemon type)
H. 15 5/8 in. (39.7 cm); W. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm); D. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm)
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Not on view
This type of brightly colored female figure is a popular example of exotica exported from Japan to Europe in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It was executed in the Kakiemon style, in which bright, overglaze enamels are applied to the white porcelain surface. This figure is dressed in a fashionable outfit of the day; she is draped in several layers of kimono, which are belted at the waist with a black obi. Characteristic of Japanese fashion, the contours of her body are obscured by the layers of fabric, but the material itself catches the viewer's eye. She wears a jovial expression, and one foot is slightly revealed at the hem of her garment, but her hands are held demurely by her body. Depictions of such bijin, or beautiful ladies, were also becoming popular in Japan at this time in the newly budding art form of ukiyo-e, or "pictures of the floating world." Ukiyo-e woodblock prints showed various aspects of the pleasure quarters that flourished during this period, including courtesans and onnagata, male kabuki actors who played female roles. The fashions of the day were typically shaped by the denizens of the pleasure quarters, and this figure's attire is probably also styled on such a model.
Mitsukoshi Ltd. (Tokyo). "Exhibition of Koimari," March 14, 1978–March 19, 1978.
Mitsukoshi Ltd. (Osaka). "Exhibition of Koimari," April 4, 1978–April 9, 1978.
Nagoya. Oriental Nakamura. "Exhibition of Koimari," April 14, 1978–April 19, 1978.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Autumn and Winter," June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Flowing Streams: Scenes from Japanese Arts and Life," December 21, 2006–June 3, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human Figure in Japanese Art," 2007–2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ukiyo-e Artists' Responses to Romantic Legends of Two Brothers: Narihira and Yukihira," March 27, 2008–June 8, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Five Thousand Years of Japanese Art: Treasures from the Packard Collection," December 17, 2009–June 10, 2010.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection," February 1, 2014–September 7, 2014.
Date: late 17th centuryMedium: Porcelain painted with cobalt blue under and colored enamels over transparent glaze (Hizen ware; Kakiemon type); American mount
Accession: 2002.447.60a, bOn view in:Gallery 201