Japanese Arita Pear-Shaped Bottle Vase, Edo (1603 – 1868), Late 17th Century
Archive item - not for sale
Japanese Arita pear-shaped bottle vase, Edo (1603 – 1868), late 17th century, painted to the bulbous body with a dreamy scene of a couple meeting on a bridge, surrounded by large blooms of peony and prunus blossom issuing from rockwork.
Height: 29cm. (11 3/8in.)
Although bridges hold universal connotations of reconciliation and of peace, they were of particular significance in seventeenth century Japan. Decades of civil warfare and destruction across the countryside had decimated transport networks, and wooden bridges in particular were frequently targeted and burnt down in military operations. Consequently, during the relative peace of the seventeenth century, after the Tokugawa Shogunate took control, the bridge became an icon of the reunification of the warring states. The shogunate sponsored the rebuilding of many high-profile bridges (including Nihonbashi in Edo, now Tokyo), and the proliferation of the motif in visual art design ensured that the message, both of peace and of state-control, persevered.