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Asian art

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Bottle with design of landscape and flowering plants

circa 1650-1660


Arita ware/Ko-Kutani style



Ko-Kutani or 'old Kutani' wares are distinguished by their brightly coloured and graphically strong decoration. This square-shaped sake bottle, painted in overglaze enamels, is dominated by four panels of similar but not identical landscape and flower designs. The bright and unexpected green, blue and yellow mountains and rocks; the red trees and green pagodas, set against a brilliant white, are startling in their effect, as are the two panels of flowering 'nadeshiko' pinks. Ko-Kutani ware takes its name from the village of Kutani on the west coast of Japan's main island, Honshu, in Kaga prefecture. It was here, reputedly in 1661, that the Maeda clan began producing porcelain that was distinguished by its colourful overglaze enamel decoration. By around 1700 the industry had lost its vitality and the kilns closed. Early in the nineteenth century they were re-established to produce a later variant known as Ao-Kutani, or 'green' Kutani ware.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 272.


Other Title

Ko-Kutani style

Place where the work was made

Arita Japan


circa 1650-1660

Media category


Materials used

porcelain with overglaze enamel


3.6 cm diam.of rim; 20.1 x 8.9 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1979


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Arita ware/Ko-Kutani style

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

  • Japanese Porcelain, The Arts Council Gallery, London, 28 Mar 1956–28 Apr 1956

  • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019

Referenced in 11 publications


Chiaki Ajioka, The world of Antiques & Art, 'The Origins of Ko-Kutani Porcelain', pg. 90-92, Bondi Junction, Jul 2002-Dec 2002, 90 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Asian Art', pg. 106-113, Sydney, 1984, 110 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon, The Connoisseur, 'Far Eastern Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 22-29, London, May 1980, 28 (colour illus.).

Motosuke Imaizumi, Shoki Arita to Ko-Kutani, Tokyo, 1974, 135 (colour illus.), 134, 485. 66 Catalogue description: 'Early Arita ware square bottle with design of landscape on red enamel pattern background, height 20.5cm, Collection of Mr de la Mare: Decorated with landscape in the same style as the early Arita ware underglaze blue plates, skillfully composed within the lectangular space with spectacular result. This is one of the works which have long been referred to as Ko-Kutani ware, but I believe it is early Arita [ware]. It must have been fired at Arita during the same period when Kutani-style underglaze blue porcelain was being produced.' [trans. by Chiaki Ajioka, curator of Japanese art)

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 272 (colour illus.).

Soame Jenyns, Japanese Porcelain, London, 1956, not paginated. 57 Catalogue Description: 57. Bottle of square section with narrow neck, decorated with landscapes and flowering plants on a read arabesque ground. Height 8.0 in. Mr and Mrs Richard de la Mare

Jackie Menzies, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Asian Art', pg. 85-103, Sydney, 1981, 92 (colour illus.). 10

Jackie Menzies, The Australian Antique Collector, 'Recent Japanese Acquisitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 90-95, Chippendale, Jan 1981-Jun 1981, 95 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Ceramics', Sydney, 2003, 263 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies and Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Japanese Art', pg. 70-82, Sydney, 1990, 76, 77 (colour illus.).

Jacqueline Menzies, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian', pg. 72-93, Sydney, 1988, 86, 87 (colour illus.).