The Gardiner Museum is open seven days a week! Explore our permanent collection, discover special exhibitions, and get hands-on with clay in our studios. We look forward to welcoming you.
Discover an exhibition of new work in our lobby by members of Inspirations Studio, a unique low-barrier ceramics program in Toronto for women and gender diverse people who have experienced marginalization.
Our Joy of Ceramics fundraiser returns on October 27, featuring a presentation by Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator at the McMichael Gallery, who will talk about a work by Shary Boyle, including its many meanings and her decision to donate it. This event sells out every year!
Every object in our permanent collection can be accessed through our eMuseum portal. Learn about individual collecting areas, like Italian Maiolica or Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, or search the full collection by keyword. You'll be amazed by what you discover!
Help us continue to offer innovative and engaging exhibitions, programs, and community projects in person and online, as well as plan for the future. Please consider making a donation today.
When Chinese trade in porcelain became disrupted in the mid-seventeenth century following the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the Dutch East India Company turned to Japan, where it had an exclusive foreign monopoly on trade. The Japanese began making porcelain at Arita sometime around 1620. The earliest wares were decorated in underglaze blue and are known as Shoko-Imari. Japanese potters soon became masters of an exceptionally fine white body having discovered naturally mixed deposits of porcelain clay, with decorations in both underglaze blue and a distinctive but limited range of overglaze enamel colours. Different styles of decoration are given different names. Ko-Kutani emerged in the late 1640s for the domestic market, and is characterized by bold designs and vivid colours. This was followed in the 1660s by the Kakiemon style, with more transluscent colours and a tendency to use asymetrical designs, while the Imari style has a darker palette and is often enriched with gilding.
Kakiemon and Imari porcelain became immensely popular in Europe. Most eighteenth-century and many nineteenth-century European porcelain manufactories, as well as makers of faïence, copied the forms and designs of Japanese porcelain. The William and Molly Anne Macdonald Collection of Japanese Porcelain and Its Influence is one of the great specialized collections at the Gardiner Museum.
1. Figure of a Courtesan (detail), Japan, Arita, c.1680-1700, The Macdonald Collection, G07.18.17
2. Figure of a Courtesan (detail), Japan, Arita, c.1680-1700, The Macdonald Collection, G07.18.17
3. Hulu (Double-gourd) Vase (detail), China, Jingdezhen, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), The Anne Gross Collection, G15.7.1
4. Roof Sculpture of Equestrian Figure, China, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Collection of Ann Walker Bell, G10.4.1
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