This Japanese early 1800's Edo period Hirado porcelain hissen or brush washer is an authentic old piece again found in the blue, white and brown colors of older Hirado ware. These are colors that were not found with most of the lavish blue and white transferware that occurred during the Meiji period push for export at the end of the 19th century. A Hissen or brush washer used for calligraphy is hand molded in an unusual form of a horse, the hole for the brushes his back. Notice his tilted head in front to the right, then you can see the horses ears, eyes and mouth. One reign on this side is leading up to the Chinese man. It took us a while to understand the artists depiction, although I had a bit of a hint from the seller in Japan. When I called the Chinese man a cat, the dealer in Japan just laughed and told me no, look at his hair, and the face of horse on front. The horse is brown, the chinese man white with black buns and a gorgeous blue robe. The Hissen is in very good but not perfect condition. There are no cracks or chips. There is either some type of wear or glaze loss to a part of this little Chinese man's face from age as seen in the pictures, please note the rest for condition. Still, a beautiful and unusual piece of Hirado clearly seen in the porcelain quality, handwork and underglaze color. .
SIZE: Diameter 2.7" or 6.85 cm, Height 2.1" or 5.33 cm. Weight 110 grams, 1/4th of a pound.
About Hirado 平戸 Ware
The origins of Hirado ware it's also called "Mikawachi ware" date back to the building of a kiln by Korean potters that were brought back to this area of Kyushu by landowners who had taken part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaign to the Korean Peninsular at the end of the 16th century. The kiln here was used to fire porcelain for the Hirado clan up to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. As well as running the kiln, the Hirado clan was responsible for finding porcelain clay at nearby Amakusa and for the rapid development of skills and techniques, which are till alive today, now operating under the Arita ware family. This ware is characterized by its over painting of cobalt on a white porcelain. Ever since the kiln was first fired, pieces were sent as tributes to both the court and warrior families and as a consequence, this china is of the highest quality, whether it be for everyday use or a special decorative item. The degree of care to produce items of such beauty and the delicacy of the work are part of its well established reputation.
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