This antique Japanese Kyu--Bizen 級-備前 fine decorative plate is made in a rare decoration for Bizen, a low relief of painted cranes, and on a lozenge shaped dish, We rarely see Bizen items painted in this manner and in colors. It is a lovely small elliptical-shaped plate and kind of reminds me of a football, the closest translate I can find in Japanese is 'hishigata-zara' rhombus or diamond shaped and a Hachi which is a flared top bowl although I do not know how to put those together, probably Hachi-hishigata-zara. It is handmade by a skilled potter and formed in the shaped of two cranes head to head with very detailed lines for the crane's feathers and wings that stretch across both sides of the plate. It has a great semi-wide up-and-out curve of the top rim and lip. The red-crested crane is an important symbol to Japan, a symbol of peace and said to live 1,000 years. It is a fine old Bizen piece. It does look like there was some loss of paint since 150 years ago and there was some dirt but we were able to remove some of it and there is only mild staining. It is in very good condition with no cracks or chips. It is possible, that the plate was painted after it had some age to it. It is not signed. There are no repairs or overpaint seen using my special lights, just the paint. Bizen pottery often changes or is different colors from brown to reddish brown due to the irons. This is a great old Bizen plate of colorful cranes in relief.
SIZE: Lenght 7.3 inches or 18.54 cm, Width 6.3 inches or 16.00 cm, Height 1 inch or 2.54 cm. Weight 315 grams or .70 lbs.
Bizen Ware Pottery or Bizen- Yaki 備前焼き
Bizen is the pottery of Okayama Prefecture in Japan and was chosen as one of the famous old 6 potteries, called Rokkoyo. This pottery is also one referred to as of the Wabi-sabi, the comprehensive view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, or incomplete.
Bizen ware is a type of Japanese pottery most identifiable by its iron-like hardness, reddish brown color, absence of glaze though there can be traces of molten ash looking like glaze, and markings resulting from wood-burning kiln firing. Bizen is named after the village of Imbe in Okayama prefecture, formerly known as Bizen province. This artwork is Japan's oldest pottery making technique, introduced in the Heian period. Bizen is one of the six remaining kilns of medieval Japan.
above an excerpt from and see more at the Okayama Prefecture tourism website.
Additionally from the modern Japanese pottery marks blogspot 'according to Marmie':
Bizen Yaki has a history of about one thousand years. It has avoided foreign influences and has remained true to the old shapes and techniques. Kei Fujiwara in Barbara Adachi's ‘The Living Treasures of Japan’ said, ‘There is not better clay anywhere. We dig it up from beneath the rice paddies of Imbe. Just feel it. Yes, it can be described as creamy and silky to the touch, but what is important to the potter is that it has great plasticity.’ The Six Families of Bizen, as mentioned on Robert Yellin's blog, are Kaneshige, Mori, Kimura, Ottan, Hayami, and Terami. The first three families are still producing wonderful wares. Of course, there are incredible potters with the names of Fujiwara, Yamamoto and more!
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