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Antique Japanese Porcelains

Antique Japanese Porcelains known popularly, if inaccurately, as Imari ware, have become highly-sought-after collectors' items in recent years. Prices have escalated sharply, and Imari ware is now in the category of investment art. Fine seventeenth and eighteenth century Imari pieces have all but disappeared from the marketplace, and those do appear from time to time for sale are so expensive that only wealthy collectors or institutions have the financial resources to purchase them. Currently, collectors are concentrating upon Imari ware of the nineteenth century: it is available and can still be bought at reasonable prices.

But unreasonable prices may be in the near future if Imari ware continues to be a desirable commodity to be added to porcelain collections. Beginning in 1970, collectors began to purchase nineteenth century Chinese export porcelains. They did that so intently and consistently that before the decade of the '70s was over the cost of the porcelains was well beyond the pocketbook of the average collector. In the '80s the same phenomenon seems to be occurring with respect to Imari ware of the nineteenth century: one sees eagerness to buy and an appreciation of the esthetic values of Imari ware: that combination is irresistible.

Collectors carefully distinguish between two kinds of Imari ware: that made for export and that made for domestic consumption.

Export wares consisted of such items as matched sets of table china (used in the west, but not in Japan), pairs of richly adorned flower vases, and typical Japanese dishes, cups, and other utensils with shapes and designs modified to what their manufacturers considered to be foreigners tastes. The home market absorbed a wide variety of bowls, with covers, employed for single servings of soup, rice, and vegetables; small cups for drinking tea or sake; saucer-size dishes in irregular shapes for serving fish, vegetables, fruits and sweetmeats. Bottles, storage containers, such as compartmented jubako in which three or four different kinds of food could be served or stored, and small rests for chopsticks were also part of the Imari-ware artists inventories. The wares made for the home market, with their intense sense of Japaneseness, are the ones of most interest to today's collectors.

We have a large selection of Antique Imari pieces with prices beginning at U$150.00. We welcome your inquiries.