This extremely unusual Hotto Yu Shoten porcelain divided server, identified by the cherry blossom mark beneath, was not factory made but was designed, kiln fired and hand painted in a private Japanese shop sometime between 1920 and 1947.
A remarkable, geometric trigon dish, with story illustrations of Japanese life delicately painted in blue and yellow upon a glossy, warm white finish, is itself a story of ancient porcelain technique carried into the modern world.
The lid is gently domed and fits neatly inside a broad, flat rim to perfectly follow the trigon shaping. A large, open, tri-loop finial adorns the top. The luster interior is sectioned by three, repeating and supporting the overall theme. Three figurine feet, a style in general referred to as dolphin, I believe are more likely koi with fanning fins, and if so, this dish stands upon the Japanese symbol for love and friendship. The reference of three in Japanese culture is as ancient as the creation myth of the sun, moon and sea and perhaps that is echoed here.
The bowl itself measures 9 inches across from one corner to the next and stands 3 inches high without the lid. The lid with finial is also 3 inches high, giving an overall height of 6 inches. These measurements are in amazing balance.
There are thin bands of hand painted gold on the koi and on the finial button. I have inspected this piece closely and have found no chips. There is crazing but it is not overwhelming and is typical for the age. The blue hand painting is in great condition, with minor skips of color that are very small and do not impact the overall presentation which is remarkably beautiful and unique.
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- Vintage springs eternal!