Ko-Kutani, Arita kiln c.1650
An Important and Exceptionally Fine Early Enamelled Arita Iroe Ko-Kutani non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain dish depicting Wild Geese and Reed
early Edo period, Joo era (1650-55)
Measuring 14cm (5.51 inches) in diameter
With outstretched wings, a wild goose decends to the waters below, honking greeting at his mate who stands by another goose on a reedy sandbank. This theme of 'Goose Descending to Sandbar' is derived from the great Song cycle of painting - 'Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers', the earliest known painted version by Song Di (c.1015 - c.1080). This theme was beloved in Japan. The composition on this piece is very similar to a silk painting by Lu Ji (c.1420 - c.1505) entitled 'Lu ding lai yan' ('Wild Geese Returning to Reedy Sandbank') illustrated in Gugong shuhua tulu (Palace Museum Catalogue of Calligraphy and Paintings), col.7, p.179. The theme of geese in late autumn on a lonely river bank heralds the coming of winter.
This very early Arita-kiln non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain of circular form with gently flared rim is covered with a very pale bluish-grey glaze, the interior superbly painted with the five overglaze enamels of pale yellow, brilliant blue, turquoise green, iron red and bold aubergine, with black outlining, depicting a wild goose in flight above two geese standing amongst reeds on a sandbank. The underside is decorated with black outlined turquoise-green symbolic objects and iron red tassels. This early enamelled dish was manufactured in Arita just before trade with Europe through the V.O.C. (Dutch East India Company) began.
Ko-Kutani, Arita kiln, Wild Geese & Reed dish, early Edo period, Joo Era 1650-55
See the exhibition catalogue of Ko-Kutani: Aote-to-kozara, Hankyu Hyakkaten, 1974 (Takigawa Hoseido, Catalogue of an exhibition organized by and held at Hanyu Hyakkaten, Nov.8-13, 1974, Hankyu Dentetsu Kabushiki Kaisha), monochrome plate no. 85 for an identical Ko-Kutani circular dish with wild geese and reeds.