This antique Japanese Imari 伊万里 pair of plates are decorated with Dharma and koumori, or bats. They date to somewhere between the end of the last Edo period or the beginning of the Meiji period, which was from 1868 to 1912. Their size may be small, but their image and motif is strong and hard to find in Imari. They are old handmade plates of beautiful white porcelain and quality hand painting in under glaze blue on white. Dharma is the subject matter, with smaller Dharma statues all about. The plates have very fine brushwork . The backside has the three bats design around the edges. Bats or koumori symbolize happiness and good luck in which health, long life, and wealth remain important aspects in Japanese culture. The Dharma has a look of the cat who ate the canary on his face, and there is something is written on the front of the plate. We do not yet know what it says, it could be a saying or a special occasion plate, or something related to the teachings of the Buddha, since from Japan as part of the Buddha-Dharma. They could be signed by the artist, but there is a potter mark on back so I think a saying. However it does resemble an old Imari mark we have seen before, it could also be the kiln name. The artists has serious talent. They are in excellent condition with no cracks or chips and very minor age wear on the bottom and perhaps some age spots. The mark on the bottom right is the 'potters mark:, intentional, and not a crack or chip.
SIZE :Diameter: 5" or 12.7 cms, Height 0.9" or 2.28 cms, Weight 290 grams, or 0.64 lbs unpacked
Also see the Daruman だるまん, Darumanga だるまんが and the Daruma san blogspot from Japan with much information about Daruma Dharma artists and history with related art work.
Imari porcelain Imari porcelain 伊万里焼 is the name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, in the former Hizen Province, northwestern Kyūshū. They were exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari, Saga, between the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. The Japanese as well as Europeans called them Imari. In Japanese, these porcelains are also known as Arita-yaki 有田焼. Evidently there is possible some relationship to Hasami Porcelain for this piece, but I do not understand it.
Imari was simply the trans-shipment port for Arita wares. There are many styles including Nabeshima and Kakiemon. It was the kilns at Arita which formed the heart of the Japanese porcelain industry.
Though sophisticated wares in authentic Japanese styles were being made at Arita for the fastidious home market, European–style designations of Arita porcelain were formed after blue and white kraak porcelains, imitating Chinese underglaze blue-and-white wares, or made use of enamel colors over underglazes of cobalt blue and iron red. The ware often used copious gilding, sometimes with spare isolated sprigged vignettes, but often densely patterned in compartments.
Imari or Arita porcelain has been continually produced up through the present day.
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