In accordance with the announcement by the provincial government, the Gardiner Museum has closed temporarily. The health and safety of our visitors, staff, and the wider community remains our top priority. We'll continue to provide you with engaging digital content to keep us connected while the galleries are closed.
During our temporary closure, we're posting exhibitions and selections from our collection online. Discover Inuit ceramics, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, pottery from the Ancient Americas, and more!
On Thursday April 29 at 1 pm, join us for a free online lecture with Professor Alison McQueen, who will discuss the significant contributions of women working at Sèvres in the first century of its history. The presentation will feature works from leading international porcelain collections and bring attention to the often-overlooked roles of women retouching glaze, laying down prints, and burnishing. Register now!
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!
With the Museum closed temporarily, we need your support to continue to offer innovative and engaging exhibitions, programs, and community projects online, as well as plan for the future. Please consider making a donation to help us build community with clay.
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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