Japan took China’s place as Europe’s main source for export porcelain around the middle of the 17th century because the transition from the Ming to the Qing dynasty in China disrupted trade. The Dutch East India Company began to buy Japanese porcelain in 1650 and exported approximately 50,000 Japanese porcelains in 1659. Such large jars demonstrate how artists took the birds and flowers motifs found in paintings and applied them to the blue and white porcelain called sometsuke. The Japanese transformed typical Chinese Jingdezhen blue and white porcelain into a spacious composition. This design shows the changing of the seasons. One side depicts a peony blossom in the spring, and the other side continues with chrysanthemums and an orchid in the autumn.
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