Dish with design of the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido

Dish of extraordinarily large size and weight with sides flaring in curve from low foot; five glaze scars from “spur” supports. Lip rim is thickened slightly with a flattened edge. Foot-rim is slanted in and slightly undercut inside and is unglazed on rounded bearing edge. Excellent condition, no apparent damage or repair. Mark in underglaze blue on base.

Clay: white porcelain, on exposed biscuit of foot-rim it is discolored and dirty.

Glaze: clear, high quality, felspathic, a very few pin holes and iron-spots.

Decoration: painted in underglaze cobalt blue in outline and wash. Inside: 55 circular blue-banded landscape medallions connected in spiral progression by white bands bearing characters. The background is an all-over pattern of repeated single-dotted small circles. The subject is Tokaido Gojusan Tsugi, the 53 stages of the Tokaido, which is the old road between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto, as depicted in the famous series of prints by Hiroshige, published in 1834. The name of each station appears in the band leading to it. Outside: the entire back of cavetto is covered by an elaborated scroll. The basic eight large elements of the scroll design are attached to one another at four points by a five-petal blossom. Near the foot is a double and single ring band enclosing alternating x and = patterns, a double ring is on the outside of the foot and also on base near the foot-rim. Calligraphy of mark is strong and clear. Lip rim is banded in blue.

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1840-1850
Medium
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under clear colorless glaze
Style
Arita ware
Dimensions
H x Diam: 10.8 x 61.2 cm (4 1/4 x 24 1/8 in)
Geography
Japan, Saga prefecture, Arita, Possibly Ohoyama kiln
Credit Line
Anonymous gift in memory of Dr. Harold P. Stern
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1974.33
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Dish

Keywords
Arita ware, city, cobalt pigment, Edo period (1615 - 1868), game playing, Japan, map, porcelain, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Description

Dish of extraordinarily large size and weight with sides flaring in curve from low foot; five glaze scars from "spur" supports. Lip rim is thickened slightly with a flattened edge. Foot-rim is slanted in and slightly undercut inside and is unglazed on rounded bearing edge. Excellent condition, no apparent damage or repair. Mark in underglaze blue on base.

Clay: white porcelain, on exposed biscuit of foot-rim it is discolored and dirty.

Glaze: clear, high quality, felspathic, a very few pin holes and iron-spots.

Decoration: painted in underglaze cobalt blue in outline and wash. Inside: 55 circular blue-banded landscape medallions connected in spiral progression by white bands bearing characters. The background is an all-over pattern of repeated single-dotted small circles. The subject is Tokaido Gojusan Tsugi, the 53 stages of the Tokaido, which is the old road between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto, as depicted in the famous series of prints by Hiroshige, published in 1834. The name of each station appears in the band leading to it. Outside: the entire back of cavetto is covered by an elaborated scroll. The basic eight large elements of the scroll design are attached to one another at four points by a five-petal blossom. Near the foot is a double and single ring band enclosing alternating x and = patterns, a double ring is on the outside of the foot and also on base near the foot-rim. Calligraphy of mark is strong and clear. Lip rim is banded in blue.

Marking(s)

Mark in underglaze blue on base: Tai Ming Seika nen sei, which is a copy of Chinese six-character Ch'eng-hua mark.

Label

Guests at a banquet first encountered this massive dish arrayed with such delicacies as sliced raw fish (sashimi). After they enjoyed their meal, they would have discovered a second treat on the clean plate: a version of the board game sugoroku. They could toss dice to determine how to move forward or backward along the linked circles representing the fifty-three way stations along the Tokaido, the main highway between Edo and Kyoto. The design of this plate, based on a famous series of woodblock prints by Hiroshige (1797-1858), shows Nihonbashi, the Edo terminus, near the rim and Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto in the center.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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