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A very fine ai-Kakiemon dish on high foot in the Nabeshima taste, superbly painted with gnarled prunus tree, banded hedge & snowflakes

Old Kakiemon kiln B, Ai-Kakiemon type, Arita, Hizen province, Japan

early Edo period (17th century)

Kanbun era (1660-1673)

circa 1670


Of moulded form with scalloped rim dressed in iron-red fuchi-beni (lip rouge), sublimely decorated in underglaze cobalt blue with an assymmetrical scene of snowflakes drifting onto banded hedge fences enclosing ancient gnarled prunus (blossoming cherry) trees.


Delicately moulded and painted in the Nabeshima taste, the dish is raised on a notably high foot painted with comb design and two concentric rings, the reverse of the dish assymmetrically decorated with flower sprays. 


The reverse bears a single spar mark and character mark within a double square. This character mark, originally the inscription of the Kusunokitani kiln around the 1650s is also seen in the works of the Chokichidani kiln, and the Old Kakiemon kilns, especially Old Kakiemon B kiln. This character mark was in use in the Old Kakiemon B kiln beginning around 1660 and out of use by 1680. According to Koji Ohashi "among all the inscriptions used by the Old Kakiemon kiln, this [particular character mark] represents the very characteristic of the Old Kakiemon's work." (Seki p.102)


Recent research has suggested that Kakiemon I (1586-1666) worked at the Kusunokidani kiln before moving to Nangawara to establish his own kiln (Old Kakiemon kiln B) in the 1660s. It is suggested that this mark is the character mark used by Kakiemon I first at Kusunokidani kiln and then in Nangawara.


15.3cm diameter ; 3.5cm high

A very fine 17th C ai-Kakiemon dish on high foot, Arita circa 1670


    According to Kazuo Seki in Beauty of Prime Period Imari: selected works of under-glazed blue porcelain (Tokyo 1990) "the most superior works of small plates and small bowls of this period...[these] works hae the intricacy, beauty in form and usefullness that show technique in its these perfect works you will recognize the refined world of the under-glazed blue with extremely delicate line drawing; these quality are comparable with The Nabeshima Ware. Within that realm, they show the exceptional high aesthetic value. Many of these works show the transforming of sense of seasons into 'Artistic Beauty'. In the products ordered by the Saga clan for their own supply, include small dishes of underglaze blue. This fact can be found in "The Book of Official Order Form" and "The Book of Official Order Design" which are the old record books of the Kakiemon family. By collecting many of existing works in order to find the similarity with The Nabeshima Ware will put the research in the field of The Official of The Orders one step forward. For that reason [these] small dishes are considered to hold important position in the studying of The Prime period Imari." (Seki p.16)

    Small dishes on high foot with comb design and concentric ring include in Seki (1990): fig.13 'The Young Pine Design Small Dish 15.3cm', fig.21 'The Quail with Horsetail Grass Design Small Dish 15.3cm' (bearing identical character mark to present dish), fig.28 'The Lion Design Small Dish 15.4cm'. 

    Small dishes on high foot with comb design and concentric ring include in Shibata Collection (1990): fig.1697, 

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