It was the Dutch East India Company who, in 1650 opened the doors of Europe to the export of Japanese porcelain. Most of this early export porcelain was decorated as blue and white, much favoured by the Dutch and still widely collected in the Netherlands today.
The Japanese Emperor had granted the Dutch a concessional trading port and factory to meet the growing demand for Japanese ceramics.
These export kilns were situated at Arita in Japan’s Hizen province. Not far from Arita was the great trading port of Imari. All export to the West left Japan through this port and it was from this port that the famous Japanese Imari porcelain takes its name. This relationship is quite often missed, leading to much Japanese porcelain being attributed to “The Imari” factory. As the export trade increased, the demand for new shapes and colours grew, leading to the bright “Imari” patterns that are so distinctively recognised today.
These patterns, were in fact, derived from the sometimes identical patterns found in Japanese textiles and brocade, the coloured palette of enamels selected by the porcelain decorators in imitation of the silks chosen by the textile makers. A standard range of colours make up the traditional palette of Imari decoration. A rich cobalt blue combines with a deep iron red to produce the basic colours. These two colours can then be embellished with pale blue, yellow, aubergine, greens and black. These brightly coloured Imari porcelains were much favoured by Europeans of the 18th and 19th centuries with their bright brocade like colours cheering up the long dark days of winter.
The Antique and Vintage Table Lamp Co currently has a fine collection of 19th century, Japanese Imari table lamps. From small accent lamps to Japanese Art Deco, to Kutani and Arita Imari and large Imari lamps in cobalt blue and iron red. Carefully placed quality table lamps can “make” a room with their ability to produce a pleasant level of mood lighting. A beautiful big pair of Imari lamps, one either end of a sofa, the bright enamel palette aglow with down light are still as fresh as new, even after 100 years plus.