Imari Intrigue: An Exceptional Japanese Imari Charger with Museum Connections

A Japanese Imari Charger of Large Scale Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

We recently acquired this exceptional Japanese Imari charger of particularly large scale.  Of round form with a shallow bowl, the charger is painted in dark underglaze blue with shades of iron red overglaze enamels and gilding.  The piece is decorated in the centre with a roundel painted with a tall vase holding a bouquet of blossoming peony and feathery grasses and placed on a low table.  The roundel is framed by a band of floral scroll work, and the rim is painted with scrolls and drawings of various flowers and small landscapes all reserved on a dark blue ground boldly decorated with red and gold chrysanthemum on gilded leafy branches.  The back is elegantly painted with thin branches of prunus, peony, and chrysanthemum.

Met Museum Imari Charger O01.15 comp.jpg

Japanese Imari Charger, Metropolitan Museum of Art

There is an almost identical charger in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum (no. 7332-1860).  This dish is dated to circa 1690-1720 and was formerly in the collection of Augustus the Strong in the Porcelain Palace of Dresden, inscribed on the back with the ‘Johanneum mark’ N:152.  The dish was a gift to the Victoria & Albert Museum by Queen Victoria.  There is another similar dish in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (no. 23.225.118), which is dated to circa 1700 and was given to the museum in 1923.


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