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Dish decorated with camellias and butterflies

Dish decorated with camellias and butterflies

enamel decoration in the ko-Kutani style

Early Edo Period (1603 – 1868), approximately 1640 – 1670.
Arita
Porcelain
H : 10 cm Diameter : 40 cm
M.C. 3363

We use the name ko-Kutani to describe porcelain decorated with rich and dark coloured enamels, in yellow, green, aubergine, red, brown and blue. A subcategory characterised by a limited number of colours, covering a large part or even all of a plate’s surface, and presumably imitating Chinese sancai (“three colours”), is called aote ko-Kutani or “old Kutani in the green style”. The name Kutani comes from the site of the present-day prefecture of Ishikawa, where a kiln was built in the middle of the 17th century by the Maeda clan, which reigned over the Kaga province, to manufacture pieces in this style. In fact, it seems as if nearly all of the pieces identified today were produced in Arita, on Kyūshū Island, to meet mostly local demand. The pieces found are generally small plates imitating Chinese porcelain exported during the Tianqi Period or large dishes, sometimes utensils for tea. 

This large dish bears concentric decoration in three segments. In the centre, a butterfly flies around a camellia branch, which stands out from a vegetal background, a theme common among aote ko-Kutani dishes. A perfect example is the dish decorated with grape clusters in the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum (see Ishikawa Museum's database). The inner border is decorated with chrysanthemum ornamentation. The back side has a traditional rinceau decoration of chrysanthemum and the “fuku” mark appears on the bottom against a yellow background.

Collection : Japanese decorative arts
Mode d'acquisition : Bequest of Henri Cernuschi, 1896.
  • Dish (hirabachi) decorated with camellias and butterflies

Dish (hirabachi) decorated with camellias and butterflies
© Musée Cernuschi