A Japanese vintage Kutani porcelain set of akae tea plates or side dishes is most often used for desserts at a tea ceremony. In another setting, for example, a sit-down dinner, they might be used as a bread or salad dish. These plates are gorgeous, very finely done. They have the most unusual shape, like a Namasuzara or shallow bowl. They are formed in a near perfect rounded shape with an upward turned and rounded or concave mouth. The flat bottom with the perfectly rounded small foot appears to be either the Hayashi Shotaro’.or Yoshida Yoshihiko style as discussed by Robert Yellin in his article on kodai, see the link in our 'Favorites' on our homepage. About 50 years old, they were handmade by a skilled Kutani specialist.
The designs and colors are wonderful much resembling early 1800s Edo Kutani. They are akae or red, painted on fine white Kutani porcelain in both underglaze and overglaze red, resembling the old style Kutani called 'Iidaya style' conspired when Iida Hachirouemon took over the Yoshidaya Kutani business in the early 1800s. Each has three sections of hand paintings. In the bottom section are hand painted scenes of Chinese sages, the next is an overcast cloudy scene of a house surrounded by trees or a sansui, and lastly a section of maple leaves called momji and representative of Fall . According to the Noami Kutani museum, common subjects included 'the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Forest' depicted in this style, which is indicated on these plates.
The plates are all signed in red on the bottom with the old Kutani mark. 九谷 They have no cracks or chips and are in excellent condition for their age.
Size: Diameter 4.6 inches or 11.7 cm, Height .9 inches or 2.3 cm
Kutani- yaki 九谷
Kutani ware is Japanese porcelain made in Kaga province (now in Ishikawa prefecture). The name “Old Kutani” refers to porcelain decorated with heavily applied overlglaze enamels and produced in the Kaga mountain village of Kutani.
The powerful Maeda family had established a kiln there by 1656. The clay bodies used were gray and coarse-grained. On most pieces—dishes and bowls were especially common—a white or blue-white matte glaze was decorated in dark, restrained colours, initially greens, yellows, and some reds, and later purples and dark blues. Some items had cobalt blue decoration under a white glaze.
The most noted Old Kutani pieces are “Green Kutani,” in which most of the surface is covered in a green or blue-green glaze to which one or two colours have been added (or the glaze is applied evenly over a design executed in black).
The bold designs of Kutani ware drew freely from Chinese ceramics, paintings, and textiles. They are renowned for their rich pictorial ornament executed in lively, intense lines.
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