Discover the arts of the Edo period (1600-1868) from porcelain to lacquer to painting.
‘For ornament and for use’: the changing role of Japanese porcelain
Around 1700, at the height of the ‘china-mania’ in Europe, spectacular porcelain rooms were created in palaces and stately homes. Japanese and Chinese porcelains covered the walls on shelves and brackets. By the mid-1700s, fashions changed and porcelain was displayed more discretely. As tea, coffee, and chocolate drinking became more widespread, Oriental porcelain was bought to be used, not just displayed.
Imari-style porcelain, with its lavish gold, enamel, and underglaze blue decoration, was exported in great quantities from the late 1600s. Imari ware was named after the Japanese port through which it was shipped. Chinese and European factories soon began to copy it.