A Japanese antique Hirado sometsuke porcelain dish that dates to the Meiji period. The Meiji period of 1868-1912 was an era full of high production in Japanese porcelains for export. Sometsuke or underglaze blue on white painted porcelains is one of the most popular of that time. See the category Hirado under 'by maker' in the Porcelain and pottery category for more pieces, or simply search by the word 'Hirado' at the top of the page. Made by a highly trained Hirado craftsperson, this dish is hand formed into a fuku-zara or concave shaped dish, as a hekei-zara or an irregular shape plate in its rounded upside-down diamond shape. It is quite unusual in its curved diamond well shape. The foot or kodai on the bottom is tall. This is often also referred to a 'stilt' in lieu of the stilt marks from sitting on the racks in the kiln, as the tall kodai was the other method. Another unique feature of this piece is the absence of trim around the top rim. It is decorated in beautiful underglaze blue or sometsuke, with birds flying in school over the forest and also featired down on the ground- the painting is very intricate. The foot is decorated with the comb pattern which was famous by Nabeshima. It is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips. A beautiful and unusual but lovely example of sometsuke Hirado, the very popular and covered porcelain ware of Japan.
Size: Length 6.6 inches or 16.8 cm, Width 5.9 inches or 15 cm, Height 1.7 inches or 4.3 cm. Weight 300 grams, or 10.5 oz,
About Hirado 平戸 Ware
The origins of Hirado ware (it's also called "Mikawachi ware") date back to the building of a kiln by Korean potters that were brought back to this area of Kyushu by landowners who had taken part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaign to the Korean Peninsular at the end of the 16th century. The kiln here was used to fire porcelain for the Hirado clan up to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. As well as running the kiln, the Hirado clan was responsible for finding porcelain clay at nearby Amakusa and for the rapid development of skills and techniques, which are still alive today.
This ware is characterized by it's over painting of cobalt on a white porcelain. Ever since the kiln was first fired, pieces were sent as tributes to both the court and warrior families and as a consequence, this china is of the highest quality, whether it be for everyday use or a special decorative item. The degree of care to produce items of such beauty and the delicacy of the work are part of its well-established reputation. A great deal of tableware is being produced for use at some of Japan's finest restaurants. Items for use at the tea ceremony are also being made along with incense burner, sake flasks, and vases. All are of the highest quality.
The craft is now headed by 14 government recognized Master Craftsmen among the 240 employed by the 35 firms maintaining a craft of class. So much more information is available on the internet and in a few good books.. See the links on our homepage under "Favorites".
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