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Kokutani-style Charger

Early Edo Period, Second Half of the 17th c. Japan

Diameter: 39cm


A large porcelain charger with five-color enamel decoration in blue, green, red, purple, and amber colors. Floating in a field of scrolling foliate decoration, there a “Military Fan” and cloud-shaped panel, bordered in amber. One is filled entirely with dark green enamel over a dense swastika pattern drawn in black.   The other, held up by a purple-hued staff,  is split in half, with a black wave pattern under green, and a blue and amber basket weave pattern.  In the upper right quadrant, there is a square window, also outlined in amber, framing a delicately painted scene of a Chinese-style literati strolling in a white ground with a sheathed harp under his arm.  To his right behind him are rocky outcrops colored purple, green, blue and amber.  A  tree with red leaves and amber trunk juts towards the center of the landscape, while green bushes sprout underneath.  Cloud depictions float in the top of the field.  Amber colored folding screens float in the background.  The rim of the plate is glazed in a dark brownish purple color, to approximate a bronze rim.  The backside is decorated with scrolling lotus flowers around the exterior walls, and double blue lines just above the foot.  The center of the foot-well has a squared green seal set within double blue circles, and  with indistinguishable   black characters, (possibly mimicking the characters for “Fuku”, meaning “affluent longevity”.   Ko-Kutani style porcelains are now believed to have been produced in Hizen, (Arita), for both export and domestic use.  They represent a uniquely Japanese compositional style influenced by both painting and textiles.  Condition: Interior with some surface scratching and small areas of enamel loss.  Small hairline crack (about 6mm) at rim.  Exterior with some surface scratching and small area of enamel loss.  

This large, vividly decorated example is nearly identical, both in size and decoration, to an example in the Matsuoka Bijutsukan, which is published in their 1991 catalog “Masterpieces of Asian Ceramics”, pl. 154.  Another example of similar size and decorative elements, but in different arrangement, is published in Jintsu Seigando’s 1989 exhibition catalog of Ko-Kutani type wares, pg. 16.

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