Dish depicting map of Japan

This rectangular porcelain dish with undulating rim bears a press-molded relief design of a map of Japan and surrounding lands, both actual and imaginary. The decorator used cobalt pigment to outline the provinces of Japan, write the province and country names, and fill the oceans with a rolling pattern of “octopus vinescrolls” (tako karakusa). The wave-like coils of the vinescrolls contrast particularly effectively with the angular outlines and relief texture of the map, and the marked bluish caste of the clear glaze sets off the deep blue of the cobalt. The back of the plate bears a different wave pattern, composed from linked curves and dots suggesting crests and foam, with eight wish-granting jewels floating in the troughs. In the center of the base appears a four-character Japanese date, “Tempo nensei (made in the Tempo era [1830-44])”.

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1830-1844
Medium
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under clear glaze
Style
Arita ware
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 5.4 x 28.4 x 25.2 cm (2 1/8 x 11 3/16 x 9 15/16 in)
Geography
Japan, Saga prefecture, Arita, Possibly Ohoyama kiln
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1996.4
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Dish

Keywords
Arita ware, cobalt pigment, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, map, porcelain, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

This rectangular porcelain dish with undulating rim bears a press-molded relief design of a map of Japan and surrounding lands, both actual and imaginary. The decorator used cobalt pigment to outline the provinces of Japan, write the province and country names, and fill the oceans with a rolling pattern of "octopus vinescrolls" (tako karakusa). The wave-like coils of the vinescrolls contrast particularly effectively with the angular outlines and relief texture of the map, and the marked bluish caste of the clear glaze sets off the deep blue of the cobalt. The back of the plate bears a different wave pattern, composed from linked curves and dots suggesting crests and foam, with eight wish-granting jewels floating in the troughs. In the center of the base appears a four-character Japanese date, "Tempo nensei (made in the Tempo era [1830-44])".

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