This Japanese antique Seiji 青磁 Celadon Nabeshima okimono of a Shishi lion was made about 120 years ago, dating to the late 19th century Meiji period of 1868-1912. Seiji 青磁 is the Japanese word for celadon, this is an unusual shade! Often called 'blue porcelain' in Japan, this is a very fine sculpture which was handmade by a very skilled artist of Nabeshima-yaki. It is a shishi with great character. It is glazed in the favorite blue-green celadon glaze. Beautiful shape and handwork can be seen under the celadon glaze. The shishi's head is thrown back in a great growl, it's sharp teeth clenched and tongue out. Tufts and curls of hair cradle the head, hands, and feet while the shishi rests upon his ball. The decoration on the ball is fine in a motif of xoxoxo or what crisscross handwork and beading, a border running down the middle. This is a nice size okimono. It has a kiln mark to the tail that occurred during the firing leaving it with a bit more of history and character. Marks occurring in the kiln are called Hittsuki in Japanese. This is no considered a flaw not considered damage but rather add to the beauty of the okimono. A repair to the bottom is not a through and through and not an issue for decoration. It is in otherwise very good condition for its age and has no cracks or chips.
SIZE: Length 8.3 inches or 21.08 cm, Height 7.3 inches or 18.54 cm, Weight 1780 grams or 3.92 lbs. unpacked.
History of Nabeshima 鍋島
Nabeshima is a supreme porcelain ware manufactured at Nabeshima feudal kiln (Saga prefecture today) under strict supervision during the Edo period. It is considered that the birth of Nabeshima porcelain had aimed to stabilize the relationship with the Tokugawa shogun family and other influences by presenting them as homage instead of popular and valuable Chinese porcelain. Because Nabeshima was made as pottery for offering to the Daimyo many hundreds of years ago, the social status of owning Nabeshima pieces such as this is high, and it is very popular even now.
From the mid 17th century onward many of these opulent and often highly ornamental pieces were shipped abroad from the port of Imari, resulting in all pieces crafted in and around the area such as Arita Kakiemon and Nabeshima, being grouped together under the Imari or Arita label. Therefore, the Japanese, as well as Europeans, called them Imari.
Nabeshima is overall part of the Imari- Arita family and that is why so many resembles can be seen between Nabeshina and Imari! Since the 20th centurym Imari has been said to be the 'overarching umbrella' for Nabeshima, Kakiemon, and other similar works which all had their beginings in the same geographical area or share much of the same history.
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