A medium size, shallow bowl with a semi-circular cut out on the rim. The bowl has flat surface on the rim and is concaved in the middle like a soup bowl. It has two holes on the opposite side of the cut out and a short foot. There is a blue band around the rim. There are two long-tailed birds in red, pale orange and yellow, perched on a blue pine tree which grows underneath the birds. Behind the pine tree trunk, there is a cherry tree in full blossom, its brunches extends in circle around the rim. The cherry tree and blossoms are in red, pale orange and yellow. More cherry flowers adorn the background of the birds. There are also red peonies on the left side of the pine tree; peony flowers also appear as spray on the four sides of the rim, backed by blue cloud design.
Combination of birds and flowers is popular motif called “bird-and-flower” painting in East Asian cultures. The two birds and cherry blossoms suggest that this is a spring scene. The cut out is where a person places his neck, and the two holes opposite the neck recess are used to string the cord around the neck during shaving. Pewter and silver shaving basins were common toilet articles in mid 17th century Europe and were ordered by the Dutch East India Company as early as 1662. (Reference: Imari: Japanese Porcelain for European Palaces from the Freda and Ralph Lupin Collection)
This vase takes the shape of a double gourd, with a large pear-shaped bottom topped by a smaller oval shape. The vase is decorated with overgalze enamels, primarily with an overall pattern of chrysanthemums. The design is also interspersed with plum blossoms, peonies, and auspicious birds.
This colorfully decorated gourd shape vase is an example of Imari ware, a type of porcelain made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for export to Europe. Lavish and intricate designs were made possible by firing each piece three times at successively lower temperatures: once with the cobalt blue painting and a clear glaze, a second time to fix the overglaze enamels, and a third time to fix the gilding.