This Japanese antique Kutani porcelain hairpin holder is held up with three karako tripod feet or children. It is decorated in the old Kutani style and colors of red, yellow, and brown all highlighted and outlined in gold. It is handmade and hand painted in over glaze enamels. It is decorated in separate paintings of scenery and flowers with a gold arabesque border. It dates to the Meiji period of 1868-1912, and is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips. There is a mark on the side which almost requires a loupe to see, it appears to be a potter's mark. There are two pinpoint age marks on the bottom, keep in mind these pictures are 10x at minimum so increase the size of these as well. Most likely it was made as a hairpin or other type pin holder.
SIZE: Height: 3 3/4" or 9.52 cm, Diameter 2 1/2" at bottom, 1 1/2" at top, or 6.35 cm x 3.81 cm
History of Use of Karako in Japanese Art
Karako means Chinese children. it is a traditional painting on Japanese wares that probably goes back hundreds of years and taken from Chinese art, where one might recall seeing vases for example with many children climbing all over them. This is the same concept of the old days of the Edo Period.The artwork usually depicts the children running around chasing butterflies and playing; usually one pine tree and one peony at its foot, depicting butterflies fitting around peony flowers and karako boys, in groups of three, five and seven, trying to catch them, all set on white background . This art design dates back to the old days, when the number of children was indicative of social status. In history discussions on Japanese sites, someone shares 'Three children designs were made for commoners. five for higher ranks. and seven children were for imperial'. This motif use began back in 1590, and taken from the Chinese practice as one might recall seeing number of children on Chinese vases and such. Now adays, different numbers of karako are used on more contemporary pieces so as not to depict social status.
Kutani ware 九谷焼
Kutani ware is Japanese porcelain made in Kaga province and now in Ishikawa prefecture. The name Old Kutani refers to porcelain decorated with heavily applied overglaze enamels and produced in the Kaga mountain village of Kutani. The Kutani family have run as a family business since the turn of the century, with many well-known potters in the family.
There is so much more information available on the internet about Kutani because it is so popular, I will leave one to their own browsing choices for Kutani information. See our Facebook page for some great videos of ancient Kutani items at the Kutani Museum by a well- known Kutani expert. There is also a great page regarding Kutani ware by the same gentleman, called The Kutani Ceramic website.
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