Imari Ware and its special connection with France

The Japanese porcelain industry was actually pioneered by Korean potters living in Japan– Many of who came to Japan during two hostile invasions of Korea.

The Imari Port

The first porcelain made in Japan by these Korean potters is known as early Imari.  “Imari” refers to a port near the Arita kilns, from where these wares were shipped extensively to the rest of Europe.  This exportation was in full force during the second half of the 17th century and first of the 18th century.

A Fine Japanese Blue and White Imari Porcelain Plate Mid 18th Century | eBay:

Arita porcelains in the earliest days were made in the Chinese style of the period in deep blues on white backgrounds.  By the 1640’s, bright colors and bold patterns were introduced.

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While “Imari” was simply the trans-shipment port for Arita wares, it was the kilns at Arita which formed the heart of the Japanese porcelain industry.

The demand for porcelain spiked in the international market shortly after the industry had begun to develop in Japan.  It was at that time the Dutch began to encourage Japan to fill the need of the European community wanting porcelains.

The blue and white Imari porcelain and the more colorful Imari that the Dutch brought to Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was some of the first Japanese art to which Europeans were exposed.

Imari — Founded by Korean potters, inspired by Chinese styles, and encouraged by Dutch traders, this Japanese porcelain absorbed foreign influence while also maintaining uniquely Japanese elements.

From 1659, Japan’s fledgling blue and white export industry flourished. However, it was Japan’s innovative, colourful wares that provoked a European frenzy in the 1680s.

During this time Louis XIV, King of France, received 1,500 pieces of porcelain from the Siamese Embassy 

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The Siam embassy was bringing a proposal for an alliance between France and Siam.  Can you imagine today mixing Politics and Porcelain?

This transaction was just another example of how trade alliances influenced products of countries crossing borders and oceans.  Thus, the influence of the French in the Asian world and the Asian world impacting the French.

 Many gifts, in addition to the porcelain, were given to the King of France and in turn the Siam embassy ordered vast amounts of French products to be shipped to the Siamese court: 4,264 mirrors similar to those of the Galerie des Glaces were ordered to decorate the palace of…

Narai, The King of Siam.

 Among other orders were 160 French cannons, telescopes, glasses, clocks and various velvet pieces and crystal decorative elements. They also ordered two geographical globes, inscribed in Thai by French artisans, as well as seven carpets from the Savonnerie manufactory.

France’s Voyage to Siam

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King Louis XIV indulged this alliance and reciprocated the honor of these special visits by sending his own embassy to Siam in 1685.  He did this to not only further commercial relations with  Siam, but to engage in a scientific expedition of Africa, the Indies, and China. Below are original pictures of the expedition, compliments of Harvard University:

Zebras seen at Cape Good Hope

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King Narai on his elephant

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The voyage to Siam

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Here in 1685 an ambassador of France is giving King Narai of Siam a letter from King Louis XIV

18 October 1685 - King Narai and the French ambassador

It is amazing how the trade of simple Imari ware porcelain played a part in opening doors to the East for the beginning of new world trade relationships!

Colors of Imari

Imari wares are bold and ostentatious, characterized by dense patterns. Typically, the Imari palette includes underglaze blue, iron-red enamel (rust color) and sometimes gold.

Imari’s iconic color combination proved to be very popular in Europe – so much so that…

European factories began making their own versions of “Imari”, including the Chantilly factory in Oise, France and the Rouen manufactory in Normandy, France — In fact, a patent was granted to the Chantilly factory in 1735 by Louis XV which specifically describes the right to make porcelain façon de Japon:

(“in imitation of the porcelain of Japan”).

Antique vintage french rouen porcelain imari style inkwellImage result for French Imari

The Japanese Kakiemon style of Arita porcelain, Japan, known as “Fleurs Indiennes” (“Flowers of the Indies”) (below) was also used as inspiration as the French European production of Imari style porcelain got underway.

A Kakiemon teapot and cover 17th century (2):

photo from auction house – privately owned

After this initial period, up to the end of the 18th century, French porcelain manufacturers would progressively abandon their Japanese designs, to become more French in character, so in oversight this began …the French Porcelain production, such as Limoges porcelain and the evolutionary journey from blue on white to various colors indicative to Imari Ware most seen today, but often times embellished with French effects such as ormolu.

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Bowl on Stand; Unknown; Imari, Japan; stand late 17th century; bowl about 1720; mount about 1740; Porcelain and gilt bronze mounts; 18.1 × 19.8 cm (7 1/8 × 7 13/16 in.); 74.DI.28:

photo from

Our Imari

We invite you to visit our Imari Room at Crown and Colony Antiques where we house a generous supply of Imari Ware — plates, vases, chargers and other novelty pieces coveted by collectors.

If you are unable to come in for a visit, you can view our Imari online at  Call us if you need assistance 251-928-4808

Credits to:  Anna Willmann for some content used in this post
Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art * most pictures are of our own collection of Imari, but some, used only to educate, are from other sources

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!



Light is pure; it penetrates darkness; it moves with incredible velocity; it nourishes life; it illuminates and therefore it is a fitting symbol of the Church and Religions dating back to ancient times.

19th C. Pair of Italian Altar Polychromed Candlesticks | From a unique collection of antique and modern candleholders and candelabra at

In the history of religion, light and fire have frequently accompanied the sacred rites of many peoples. The fire from the altar candlestick is used symbolically for those things holy- giving light to those things respected.

French Altar Candlestick - Candle Holders - Candle Sticks:

In the beginning it was lamps fed with olive oil that gave light.  Since typical church services were held in the evening or early morning, it was natural to have light; however, the candle and candlestick came at slow progression.   In the early days of the Church, candlesticks were not placed on the altar though lights were used in the church, and especially near the altar–the light originally was lamps and chandeliers fed with oil and lit.

There are FIVE parts to the candlestick:

  1.  The foot
  2.  The stem
  3.  The knop, which is usually in the middle and aids lifting of the  candlestick
  4.  The bowl, used to receive the drippings from the burning wax candle
  5.  The pricket, used to hold the wax candle in place

Altar candlesticks are made of GOLD, SILVER, COPPER GILT, LATTEN (an alloy of copper and zinc that resembles brass), BRASS, CRYSTAL or WOOD.

The first ancient altar candlesticks were low in nature with tapers of no great height,Image result for images of short candlesticks for the altar where high tapers placed on top of the candlesticks are of modern introduction.

RF ANTIQUES and CROWN AND COLONY ANTIQUES carries altar candlesticks in all shapes and sizes and made of wood and metals.  We maintain a beautiful selection at all times.  They are used in homes on fireplace mantels, dining tables, buffets, entry hall pieces — in bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.  They are an accessory that should be in every home.

On the candlesticks in the picture below– used in an entry way — you can clearly see the prickets on the top of the candlestick where the candle would remain secure.

“Since ancient times, light and fire have reminded people that God is here with us. When you bring light you are reminding people that God is with us always.  In the Protestant and Catholic faith the lighted candle also reminds us that Christ is the Light of the world.  Many persons like to think of the two candles on or beside the Lord’s table as reminders that Christ is both human and divine.”

Altar Candlesticks no matter where they are used bring beauty and pleasure to the eye of the beholder.

Below are metal candlesticks found at RF Antiques

 If you want to see some of the oldest altar candlesticks, some dating back to the 15th century, there are many churches in France that have beautiful altars where candlesticks are still displayed and used. Here are a few that may be of interest:

An altar with elaborate candlesticks in St. Sulpice Cathedral in Paris, France —Related image

The outside of St. SulpiceImage result for images of saint sulpice church in france

Mont Saint Michel Abbey: In Normandy, France and still home to Benedictine monks.Mont Saint Michel Abbey

Reims Cathedral: Reims, France, on the Vesle River east-northeast of Paris.  Over 800 years old – it took over a century to complete.Reims Cathedral

Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe: Le Puy-en-Velay, France.  There are 268 steep steps carved right into the rock face that have to be climbed!  This church was constructed in the middle of the 10th century. Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe

The history of the altar candlestick is rich.  The candlesticks that we have in our shops have their own story depending on where they came from in France.  Whether you have just one or several, the candlestick presents itself as a true conversation piece for the home.

Single altar candlesticks or displayed in pairs –they give a wonderful texture and interest to any room.

Please visit our showrooms to see all the choices we offer.  You can also visit our website  If you see something you like, please call us 251-928-8336 or 251-928-4808 to inquire.

most pictures are our own however for those that are not we give special credit to, BlisshomeandDesign, RobertaPetersDesign and and Pinterest for sharing pictures for the informational use in this post

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

Saddle Stones

The Staddle or Saddle Stone:  It is a low mushroom shaped stone arrangement of a conical bottom (cone like shape) with a flat or slightly domed shaped circular stone resting on top.

 Many times these stones were made of a single stone, but most often the merging of the two shapes.  They date from the 17th and 18th centuries and were developed through “need”.  They were practical foundation stones which kept wooden structures from rotting, with the cap also acting as a barrier to vermin trying to gain access to stores of hay, grain or game.

These two saddle stones were recently housed at our Architectural Antique Shop -RF ANTIQUES- but, because they are quite coveted by avid gardeners or those wanting to own a piece of history and something unusual, we do not keep them long in our courtyard!

Continue reading “Saddle Stones”

French Prayer Chair


A priedieu (French: literally, “pray [to] God”, plural priedieux) is a type of prayer desk primarily intended for private devotional use, but may also be found in churches. … The priedieu appears not to have received its present name until the early 17th century.  It is intended to be knelt on where one can place a book or their elbows for prayer.

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How’s the Weather?  A Brief History on Antique BarometersImage result for images of french barometers


The mercury barometer was invented in 1643 by Torricelli, a student of Galileo, in Florence, Italy.

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This remarkable device is used to measure atmospheric pressure, and those changes in pressure indicate a change in the weather.

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