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Pair of Louis XV Pot pourris, Imari porcelain pots, ca. 1700. Ormolu mounts, Paris, Louis XV period, ca. 1710. Photo courtesy Röbbig München

H. 16 cm, w. 18 cm. Price on request.

Of all the various types of European and Oriental porcelain available on the Parisian art market in the eighteenth century, Japan­ese porcelain from Arita, particularly ­pieces with an Imari décor, were the most expensive and most highly prized by the era’s major collectors. These vases were extremely valuable, and were sometimes mounted in silver during Louis XIV’s reign and the early Régence period; others in finely chased gilt-bronze mounts during the early years of Louis XV’s reign. Thus, the two vases presented here have elegant gilt-bronze mounts which set them off and transform them into precious potpourri. The décor consists of medallions depicting figures in red, black, and gold set among gilded flowering branches on a white background with stylised blue craquelure. This is one of the most unusual and rare examples; the only other known piece is a covered bouillon bowl and stand featuring an identical Parisian silver mount. It was sold by Christie’s in Monaco, June 16, 2001, lot 594. Other ­Imari or Arita vases mounted as potpourri have been identified, notably a silver-mounted bouillon now in the Toledo Museum of Art (illustrated in exh. cat. Washington 1986, p. 56, cat. no. 14); a pair of covered vases with gilt-bronze mounts, formerly in the collection of Jacques Doucet (sold in by Paris by Me Lair-Dubreuil, June 7–8, 1912, lot 210); and finally, a potpourri with an openwork neck that is similar is spirit, and which once belonged to the collection of Ma­dame Lucienne Fribourg (sold by Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 19, 1969, lot 61).

Literature: Exh. cat. Washington 1986
Mounted Oriental Porcelain. Edited by ­Francis Watson. Exh. cat. International Exhibitions Foundation. Washington, D.C., 1986.

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