A Japanese vIntage Seto porcelain namako glaze platter is decorated with a prunus branch. It was made about 40-50 years ago in the late Showa Period. It is well made, hand thrown and hand decorated and glazed by a Seto ware artist. Namako is the Japanese word for sea cucumber glaze. Dating to the Kowatari era over 700 years ago, Namako or Sea Cucumber glaze is one of many Classical Glazes still in use today. Along with Kinyo ), Ki, Tenmoku, and various Canton glazes, Namako is one of those glazes every contemporary Japanese artist has their own version and spin on. Namako is characteristically dark blue, with notes of browns and white flecks. Unlike Kinyo and other blue glazes, Namako gets its blue coloration from “spherules of immiscible glass floating in the larger glass matrix.
This plate is well done. It gives the effect of the night sky surrounding prunus branch. The different shades and colors are well blended and beautiful with the silver in blue giving the natural effects of the night sky. The painting of the prunus and its branch are beautiful, with the flowers in a muted peach color and the branches in black. The back and foot are in all black, the upper rim in Kuchibeni, or a brown color trim, a method to apply iron glaze on the rim of the plate or the bowl. This piece is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips and would make a wonderful decorative piece.
Size: Diameter 12.4 inches or 31.8 cm, Height 2.06 inches or 5.3 cm, Weight 1545 grams or 3.40 lbs.
Seto ware is the pottery made in Seto city and nearby areas of modern Aichi prefecture. Located close to Nagoya is one of the Nihon Rokkoyo i.e. one of the six old kilns of medieval Japan. The history of this craft in Seto goes back 1300-years, the longest of any area in Japan. The location of Seto makes it ideal for the production of pottery and ceramics. The soil around the city contains good quality porcelain clay and silica used in making glass, and there are forests nearby to provide firewood for fuel. Japan's first ash-glazed pieces were also fired in Seto sometime in the 14th century.
The history of ceramics in Seto dates back to the Heian period 794-1185, with the creation of Akazu-yaki ware, a type of pottery where the clay could be glazed in a number of different ways before it was fired. Seto area was the center of pottery manufacture in the Kamakura period; Ko-seto old Seto designates pieces made at this time. At the end of the Muromachi period the center of the pottery manufacture moved to nearby Mino. At that time, wares made in the area from Seto to Mino were called Seto- yaki. In the early Edo period, some pottery manufacture moved back to Seto.
Seto became recognized as one of the six Nihon Rokkoyo during the Kamakura period 1158-1333, and it stood out from the other areas as it as the only area to glaze its pottery. Today, they are part of the Mino Ceramics Family.
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