Imari Covered Hexagonal Jar, ca. 1700
We went to a private sale. The gentleman was elderly, and he turned out to be an Italian aristocrat, and he was closing up his house and going back to the Italian Riviera. He had documents signed by President Eisenhower, so we knew he was some important official.
What'd you pay for it then?
Three hundred and fifty dollars.
Three hundred and fifty dollars.
It was in the corner on a marble pedestal, and we just fell in love with it.
One thing that identifies something about this piece is particularly there's a distinct color to the blue, and the blue is quite, quite black in certain points, and that's a peculiarity of a Japanese ware called Imari. And Imari is not the place where this was produced; it's a port where it was distributed out of. It was made in Arita, Japan, and it was made between about 1680 and 1720, this particular jar. And these things were made pretty much exclusively for export from Japan to the West. They really didn't have a place in Japanese lifestyle. But they were actually quite expensive when they were made. If you look closely to the glaze in certain places, you'll notice that there's a crackle to the glaze, and that happens to come from the tension between the body of the vase and the glaze that's on it. One of the things about this form, this hexagonal form, it creates an enormous amount of stress on the body of the piece when it's in the kiln. Did you have any idea what the jar was worth? Guest: No, we had, uh... When we got it originally, we did get an appraisal, and they told us it's worth maybe $1,300 at that time. This is about 1976.
1976. Well, the value's come up quite a bit on a jar like this. This jar's worth between $8,000 to $10,000.
Wow, $8,000 to $10,000?
$8,000 to $10,000. It's a wonderful piece of porcelain. The Japanese call these things "brocade wares," nishiki-de yaki, and that's because these patterns resemble textile patterns that are around there. A beautiful, old Imari vase. Wonderful thing.
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