Blue and white porcelain container

Japan, Edo period, 1603 – 1868 or Meiji period, 1868 – 1912

Height: 3 1/8 inches, 8 cm

Diameter: 3 1/8 inches, 8 cm

A hexagonal porcelain container, supported on a low base and with a flat lid. The sides are painted in underglaze blue on a white ground with a variety of circular motifs, in between bands of floral garlands. The flat lid is painted with a whorl pattern. The container is preserved in its original tomobako or wooden box.

Although this intriguing porcelain vessel, possibly a tea-leaf container, was made at the Arita kiln in Japan, it is quite likely that it was originally destined for the Chinese market, where so-called Kosumetsuke ware (Chinese porcelain made for the Japanese market) was extremely popular.