Plan your visit to CLAY, offering a seasonal menu of fresh local fare in one of the city's most beautiful spaces. Try our newly-launched spring menu today!
Ai Weiwei is one of the world’s most influential artists and human rights activists, and one of China’s most formidable critics. Ai Weiwei: Unbroken features a selection of the artist's most iconic ceramics, and marks the international debut of new work. See it now!
SMASH: Nourish is a night of bold artwork, delicious cuisine, refreshing drinks, and invigorating experiences. The Gardiner Museum Young Patron Circle's annual art party sold out last year, so get your tickets early!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Everyone can love clay! Become a Friend at one of the world’s great specialty museums and enjoy the benefits, including unlimited admission, invitations to exhibition previews and special events, discounts on lectures and clay classes, and more.
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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