We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.



circa 1660-1685


Arita ware


  • Details

    Other Titles
    Imari ware kendi
    Kendi with design of landscape
    Place where the work was made
    Arita Japan
    Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    circa 1660-1685
    Media category
    Materials used
    porcelain with underglaze blue decoration
    8.5 cm diam. of rim; 20.6 x 18.1 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Lesley Pockley 1986
    South Building, lower level 1, Asian Lantern galleries
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Arita ware

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The 'kendi', a drinking water vessel with a spout but no handle, is a form distinct to Southeast Asia, where it has a long history. The name is thought to derive originally from the Sanskrit word 'kundika' meaning a water vessel, and was an attribute of Hindu and Buddhist deities. Made in China as early as the Yuan dynasty, it was also known as a 'gorgolet' (from the Portuguese 'gorgoletta'). The main markets were Indonesia and Malaysia, and Chinese, Japanese and Thai potteries catered to this market, as well as local potteries. The shape became popular in Europe in the 1600s, as evidenced by its frequent appearance in 17th-century Dutch still life paintings.

    The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.138.

    Arita ware or Imari ware?

    Arita ware (porcelain made around the Arita region) is commonly referred to as 'Imari ware' both in Japan and overseas because porcelain products from the region were transported to domestic and overseas markets through the port of Imari, approximately 15km north of Arita. For the sake of consistency, all porcelain works produced during the Edo period in the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection are catalogued according to the production site, e.g. Arita ware and Hasami ware.

    Imari itself was home to the Nabeshima ware, exclusively produced at the Ôkawachi kilns for official use of the ruling Nabeshima clan. With the establishment of the Meiji government in 1868 the independent fiefs of the Edo period were replaced by prefectures in 1871, and the Ôkawachi kilns entered the free market. The term 'Imari ware' (or Ôkawachi ware) now applies to works produced in Imari from 1871 to the present.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Elemental, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Jul 2022–2024

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

  • Provenance

    Lesley Pockley, pre 1986, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, June 1986.

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