This fine antique Edo Period Imari porcelain plate us highly decorated with many old Japanese intricate designs. Because of this, it is thought to date to the early to mid-Edo period of 1603-1868, most likely the late 18th century although maybe older. It is handmade and hand-decorated in beautiful blue and white. It has the decoration on the outside in marumon or the circles that were quite the surprise, close up is a picture of people on the ground, looking at it from further away one will see the clouds form a crane image. Two patterns make the background alternating designs. The one which looks like a reverse swastika is further discussed below and called 'manji 万字'. The floral arabesque design in the center is the "karakusa botan-hanakarakusa", I believe. And the fine decoration on the back is the motif of an arabesque pine tree, called "Matsu-karakusa". Finding old Imari plates completely decorated on the back is a rare occurrence these days especially one this old, most are in museums. It is in fine condition for its age with the exception of a repair on the rim as seen in picture seven, which is not really as noticeable unless close up. It would make a very fine collector's item and decorative piece with many historical motif and design and is fine!
SIZE: Namasu, Length and width is 6.9 inches or cm, Height 1.3 inches or cm
The design of manji 万字
This is the design which some people might think looks like a swastika, but it is not. In fact, it has been around much longer than that. A Few excerpts from the "japanese-buddhism" site if you wish and cannot find it please ask.
The symbol of the swastika is a well-documented ancient symbol used around the world. It’s first recorded occurrence dates all the way back the 6th to 5th millennium BC when it was used in the “Vinca script” of Neolithic Europe. After that it has been used by primitive society consistently from China to the Americas passing by Greece and Africa. The word swastika come from the Sanskrit and it means “that which is associated with well-being.” Its meaning is one of luck, well-being. It has been used consistently around the world, even in the U.S. as a good-luck charm, especially by early aviators. Native Americans and Chinese also used it to represent the sun.
The Swastika in the East
The crooked cross is a historical sacred symbol in all Indian religions. It is used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It rose to importance in Buddhism during the Mauryan Empire and in Hinduism with the decline of Buddhism in India during the Gupta Empire. It followed the silk road with Buddhism to reach Tibet and China. The symbol was also introduced to Bali with Hinduism by Hindu kings. The use of the swastika by the Bon faith of Tibet, as well as later religions like Cao Dai of Vietnam and Falun Gong of China, can also be traced to Buddhist influence. In Buddhism, it is said that Gautama Buddha or the historical Buddha, was inscribed with this symbol on the chest by his disciples upon his death. We often see statues of him with this symbol on the chest or on the sole of the feet. It represents infinity in Tibet and China.
Many Buddhist texts start with this symbol, thus it has started being used in Japan as a symbol representing temples, especially on maps as the tori gate represents Shinto shrines. In Japan, the swastika is called manji 万字, which comes from China. The first character, man, means 10,000 which is a big enough number to represent a myriad, or infinity. The second one is simply character. thus it is called the infinity character.
It is usually facing counter-clockwise. Meaning that the arms of the cross are turning in a counter-clockwise pattern. This being said, it is not uncommon to see it facing the other way and it is called a mirror-image of the manji. The signification is the same though and it is still not associated with the Nazis in any way.
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