- Museum Accession No.: EA1978.689
- Catalogue No.: 44
- Object type: Bottle
- Kiln/Location: Early Enamelled Ware, Arita
- Period/Date: 1660-80
- Dimensions: H. 39 cm, D. 20.1 cm
- Provenance: Reitlinger gift
- Description: Pear-shaped bottle. Tall neck, slightly everted rounded rim. Glazed base. Red, yellow, green and aubergine enamels. On neck, cartouche design in red. On body, three large, lobed panels, each with sage in landscape, two with a pine tree, and one with a plum tree. Six roundels containing flowers and emblems in reserve against dense red scroll background under shoulder. Three plain red bands around foot.
The presence in a private collection in New York of a bottle of very similar design, but with the large cartouches containing similar sages, one with a pine tree, one with a plum tree, and one with bamboo, testifies to a mistake on the part of our painter, who did not include a bamboo, only painting two pine trees, thus failing to depict the 'Three Friends'. So similar is the style of the decoration that the painting in the cartouches of these two bottles are almost certainly the work of one painter. In all probability, the background had been painted by a less-skilled artist; for evidence of this division of labour, see no. 45.
- Exhibited: OCS, 1956, no. 55; Great Japan Exhibition, Royal Academy 1981-2, no. 213; Porcelain for Palaces, no. 75.
- Similar Example: OCS, 1956, no. 55; Great Japan Exhibition, Royal Academy 1981-2, no. 213; Porcelain for Palaces, no. 75.
- Illustrated: Jenyns, 1965, pl. 85B; Imaizumi, 1974; Illustrated London News (Frank Davies), 21 April 1956; Nagatake, 1959, p. 256, f. 21; Atterbury (ed.), 1982, p. 42.