Shaving bowl with design of long-tail bird and flowersArtist(s)JapaneseArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Datemid 17th centuryMedium & Supportporcelain, blue underglaze, and enamel overglaze paintingDimensions
2 13/16 in x 10 5/8 in x 10 5/8 in (7.2 cm x 27 cm x 27 cm)Credit LineGift of the William T. and Dora G. Hunter CollectionLabel copy
This Imari shallow bowl with an unusual cutout was used in Europe as a shaving bowl. In the mid-seventeenth century, pewter and silver shaving basins were common toilet articles among Europeans. As early as 1662, the Dutch East India Company placed orders for porcelain versions, providing wooden models of the basins to ensure that the Japanese potters would make the products in a familiar form. The cutout is where a man would place his neck, and the two holes opposite the neck recess were used to string the cord around the neck during shaving.
Although it was intended for everyday use, the bowl has a festive decoration. Surrounded by blossoming cherry trees and peonies, two phoenixes exchange the intimate glances of the mating season.
(Label for UMMA Japanese Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)Subject matter
Combination of birds and flowers is popular motif called “bird-and-flower” painting in East Asian cultures. The two birds and cherry blossoms suggest that this is a spring scene. The cut out is where a person places his neck, and the two holes opposite the neck recess are used to string the cord around the neck during shaving. Pewter and silver shaving basins were common toilet articles in mid 17th century Europe and were ordered by the Dutch East India Company as early as 1662. (Reference: Imari: Japanese Porcelain for European Palaces from the Freda and Ralph Lupin Collection)Physical Description
A medium size, shallow bowl with a semi-circular cut out on the rim. The bowl has flat surface on the rim and is concaved in the middle like a soup bowl. It has two holes on the opposite side of the cut out and a short foot. There is a blue band around the rim. There are two long-tailed birds in red, pale orange and yellow, perched on a blue pine tree which grows underneath the birds. Behind the pine tree trunk, there is a cherry tree in full blossom, its brunches extends in circle around the rim. The cherry tree and blossoms are in red, pale orange and yellow. More cherry flowers adorn the background of the birds. There are also red peonies on the left side of the pine tree; peony flowers also appear as spray on the four sides of the rim, backed by blue cloud design.Primary Object Classification Ceramic Primary Object TypebowlAdditional Object Classification(s)Decorative ArtsCollection AreaAsianRights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image
for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.