Broadcast on February 6, 2018
Available until March 31, 2029
A bowl with a bright, colorful design of birds and flowers on a white base is a masterpiece of the Kakiemon type of Imari porcelain, the umbrella term applied to a number of different types of porcelain exported worldwide from the port of Imari in the 17th and 18th centuries. Porcelain manufacturing in Japan began from Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea after Korean potters brought over to Japan discovered the raw material, kaolin, in Kyushu. The turmoil of dynastic change in China then caused Japan’s nascent porcelain industry to take off. Colorful enameling techniques were transmitted when many Chinese porcelain craftsmen fled to Japan. But those disturbances also halted porcelain exports from China. The Dutch traders who monopolized Asian trade in those days turned to Japan instead and shipped the Japanese porcelain to the world. The bowl was created during an era of great global upheaval.