This Japanese antique Seto Ware 瀬戸 porcelain pair of inoguchi cups was made in the 19th-century portion of the Meiji period of 1868=1912. They were a purchase from Japan. They have the beauty of the old high-class Seto wares used by the dmanyo of that time, so they may be older. They are very delicate at three inches in diameter of a handmade porcelain cup. The inoguchi is smaller than a chawan but larger than the usual sake cup. Most often, they are used for soba noodles and also a choko cup. This size is also used for serving liquors or juice. These days, they are rae to find. They are hand drawn and painted with lots of gold and very high-class work. They are part of the same collection but painted in different motif for the collection.
A rooster sits upon a ball of fire with the yin yang symbol. it may also be an indication of a family crest. Sakura or cherry blossoms wrap around the bottom and a blue and gold upper rim make it fine. The other cup is decorated with a gold sparrow surrounded with a wide gold bordered side around it then another border of sakura and other flowers surround this. This is also trimmed with a blue and gold rim. The old cups are in very good condition. One has a glaze crack when is so thin it can barely be seen and does not go through the other side. on has an age spot caused by a nick, These are not considered a fault in Japanese art language. This one has an artist signature on it in a red square which may be the name of the kiln or the artist, I did not find it on my list but it most looks like and I think it reads Nanzan-gama.
Size Diamter 3.3 inches or 8.3 cm, Height 1.6 inches or 4 cm
Seto, 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. The history of ceramics in Seto dates back to the Heian period of 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. Japan's first ash-glazed pieces were also fired in Seto sometime in the 14th century.
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. See more at the Gothberg website on Japanese porcelain.
In Muromachi period, Seto's ceramic artists established the kilns in Mino, and ‘Koseto old seto’ period was started. It was an important era at the point of laying the foundation of production of glazed pottery. Then, Ogama large kiln appeared and times moved to the ‘Seto Mino’ period from Koseto period. By Ogama, it brought us big merits such as the expansion of kiln's surface area and volume, combustion efficiency, the establishment of stable production of the glazed pottery.
In the old Momoyama period, Mino Ware became a big success with a focus on tea ceremony. While the mass production of ‘Seto Mino’ were possible in the big kilns, on the other hand, the movement to make new pottery called ‘Kaiseki’ had come out with a focus on vessels of the tea ceremony. Time had moved from ‘Seto Mino’ to today's Seto site.
Today, Seto City is a center of pottery production. One of the Japanese words for pottery, 'setomono', is derived from the town’s name and means 'Seto made thing'.Today, the town remains home to many pottery studios creating new and innovative works, and continuing ceramic traditions begun in the 14th century. As the 'Seto Marutto Museum', the city of Seto itself is presented as a living museum with various galleries and exhibits spread about the town. The Seto River, leading to the heart of the city, is lined with pottery specialty stores. ‘Mino Seto’. Among the long history of the Mino, it is the age that was the most brilliant.
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