Coffee pot, Edo Period (1615–1868), 1650–75
Porcelain with underglaze blue and mounted with silver (Hizen ware, Arita type); H. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)
Purchase by subscription, 1879 (79.2.176a,b)
A seemingly odd shape for Japanese porcelain, this coffee pot was made specifically for export to Europe. From the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century, when Chinese porcelain production was in decline, the Japanese porcelain industry thrived through trade with the Dutch. Since shapes like coffee pots were unfamiliar to Japanese potters, the Dutch would provide models to be copied. Additions of silver or gold mountings to a porcelain vessel were common in export wares, highlighting the high value placed on porcelain by the wealthy European consumers.