The Gardiner is now open from Thursday - Sunday, including free weekend admission! There's plenty of space to reconnect and amazing art to discover in all corners of the Museum. Clay Restaurant is still open Tuesday - Sunday. Reservations fill up fast, so book your table early. Please read our new health and safety policies before you visit.
From sticky to crusty, pliable to powdery, and shaped to shapeless, clay’s ability to transform in real time is prompting a new generation of artists to explore the possibilities of this ancient material. RAW features new work by four artists who are pushing boundaries with unfired clay: Cassils, Magdolene Dykstra, Azza El Siddique, and Linda Swanson. See it now!
We're firing up the kilns again! Join us on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 - 3 pm for drop in clay classes in our pottery studios. We've reduced our class sizes to allow for safe physical distancing, and instituted new health and safety protocols. Registration opens online at 10 am on the morning of the class. We can't wait to see you back in the studios!
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!
As we begin to welcome visitors back to the Gardiner, we need your support to continue offering innovative and engaging exhibitions, programs, and community projects on site and online. Make a donation and 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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