This Japanese antique Awaji Pottery set of five small golden dragon plates are made in low relief were made in one of the first Awaji kilns by Minpei, see more below.. Due to the three kiln or stilt marks, most likely they are pre-Meiji period 19th century age dating to around the 1850s by history and number of stilt marks. According to the Gotheborg site, some of the earlier pieces appear to have been press molded- still hand made, and I see the spin lines so apparently made using both methods, the center design does appear to be press molded. They are quite unusual, the dragon is in rare form. The three-claw dragon is bordered with flames and takes up the center of the plate, the border being smooth. The glaze is quite gorgeous, the dragon and flame design and border are darker than the rest of the plate. One plate has a visible crack on the outside border. There may be some age wear to the design or it may just be how it is made, because I do not see any holding them in my hands, and the rest of the top glaze is in good condition. Three of the plates have some age spots on the bottom, or loss of glaze, or darkening of the glaze like the Minpei tends to do with age. One of the same plates has some age stains around the bottom of the outside rim and visible from the side- top. Please see the pictures for the good and the bad, not all so bad. And Still, they are a fine set. Still, overall they are in good and beautiful old Awaji Minpei condition and quite unusual.
SIZE: Width 3.8 in. or 9.65 cm, 2.9 in. or 7.36 cm, Height .05 in or 1.27 cm
The following is quoted from Thomas K. Libby's site, for whom I have added a link to our 'Favorite' links on our Homepage. Quote:
Excerpt, Tk. Libby, The history of the Awaji kilns
The first kiln on Awaji was started in 1831 by a doctor named Minpei in the village of Iga. Minpei was an energetic man of some means with wide ranging interests. He is known to have been a doctor, a talented writer, a renowned chajin or tea ceremony master, a soy sauce factory owner, and run a large fishing cooperative before devoting all of his energies to ceramic manufacture. In 1834, Ogata Shuhei, a highly esteemed Kyoto potter, came to work with Minpei for two years. A wide variety of fine wares were made in the fifty years which followed. The kiln was known for fine Satsuma-type pieces in the Kyoto or Awata style with elaborately glazed geometric designs and aptly executed foliage and wildlife. Minpei also mastered underglaze-blue decoration, carved celadons, ceramics that cleverly imitated bronze vessels, and bright yellow and green monochromes with incised designs. In 1842, the provincial Daimyo, or Governor, came to visit the operation and granted Minpei an official kiln status. Minpei retired in 1862, leaving the kiln to his son Rikita and nephew Sanpei.
By the 1870's, Rikita and Sanpei were each running kilns of their own and exhibiting in the International Exhibitions, where their wares were well received. In the late 1870's, Christopher Dresser, the influential British designer, visited the two kilns and ordered examples of each to be shipped back to England for study. In 1883, Rikita sold his works to a group that called the kiln Danto—which means “Group” in Japanese. Though Sanpei did not begin production at his own kiln until about 1870, his operation quickly became the larger of the two. A third kiln was set up in Awaji's capital, Sumoto, in 1883 by Tamura Kyuhei.
Awaji Pottery 淡路
More from Jan - Erik Nilsson and his Gotheborg site, see the link to his site under our Favorite Links on our Home Page, see more at his site.
Awaji pottery has got its name after the Japanese island at which it was made during a period of about one hundred years, between 1830 and 1939. Most of the pieces we find are made from the mid 1870's when Awaji began to export its products, to the mid to late 1930's when the last of the kilns closed. Earlier wares caters to the Asian taste and could be found imitating Chinese monochromes from the Kangxi period and later, while from the turn of the century the shapes are more inspired with the western art movement such as Art Deco and Art Noveau. Awaji pottery is usually hand thrown. The body is made of high-fired, white or cream colored clay that borders on stoneware and can vary from pink or buff, to white to grey. The glazes are lead based and often brilliant in tone, typically are translucent and finely crackled. The lead gives the colors brilliance and makes the translucent enamels glassy and often iridescent. Most common are the Awaji monochromes such as grass green, yellow ranging from pale lemon to deep amber, cobalt blue, aubergine, light green, blue, light and dark turquoise, mirror-black, and burgundy. Other wares can feature two-tone or three-color glazes similar to Chinese sancai, many pieces with incised decoration most commonly featuring irises, and applied relief decoration.
Awaji pottery is usually hand thrown where smaller earlier pieces and application ornaments appear to have been press molded. The body is made of high-fired, white or cream colored clay that borders on stoneware and can vary from pink or buff, to white to gray. The glazes are lead based and often brilliant in tone, typically are translucent and finely crackled. The lead gives the colors brilliance and makes the translucent enamels glassy and often iridescent.
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