Wine bottle, Edo period (1615–1868), first half of 17th century
Porcelain with underglaze blue (Hizen ware, early Imari type); H. 6 3/8 in. (16.1 cm), Diam. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 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 (1975.268.477)
The flower pattern on this delicate bottle was painted with soft brushstrokes, resulting in a fluid appearance and pale coloring. The focus on an isolated motif from nature is characteristic of early Imari porcelain, a style that differed from Chinese porcelain, which would later have a profound effect on Japanese wares.
This porcelain vessel would have been used as a wine bottle for sake, Japanese rice wine. It belongs to the category of early Imari, which is the first type of porcelain produced in Japan. Works considered early Imari were made from the 1610s to the 1660s. After this point, the style of Japanese porcelain changed drastically due to the stimulation of the industry by the Dutch East India Company, when it began to buy Japanese wares and export them to Europe.