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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Dates/Places: Japan
Creator Active Place: Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Japan, Edo Period
Title: Plate with Persimmon Branch Design, Kutani Ware
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1666
Creation End Date: 1699
Creation Date: Late 17th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramic
Materials and Techniques: glazed stoneware with overglaze enamel decoration
Dimensions: Diameter: 33.4cm, Overall: 6.2cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1964.245
Credit Line: Severance and Greta Millikin Collection
Context: The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Japan offer an especially rich and varied group of ceramic wares. Their individual histories of development and patronage, technical advance, and visual creativity is relatively well recorded. The strong domestic market for tea utensils favored the traditional earthenware and stoneware kilns. But high-fired painted porcelains from China and Korea were known and sought after by the well-to-do in Edo society. The market for underglaze blue ware or plates decorated with classical Chinese legends appealed to the Japanese, and the Chinese produced and exported sufficient numbers to meet the demand. Domestic kilns also sprang up in the Arita region in Kyushu, eventually producing good quality porcelains decorated inunderglaze cobalt blue for a Southeast Asian market. But it was the fall of the Ming dynasty and the subsequent disruption of the flow of export ware from China to Europe that promoted the meteoric rise of Japan's porcelain industry. Through the offices of the Dutch East India Company, which had an office on an island near Nagasaki, Japanese potters were given huge orders to fill with requirements for higher quality ware. Between mid-century and the early decades of the eighteenth century the Japanese porcelain industry responded with various, brilliantly colored ware in a style that Europeans favored over Chinese examples. Imari ware and especially Kakiemon were in great demand, as was the more standard blue-and-white Arita ware. But other porcelain types, Kutani and Nabeshima ware, also appeared at this time and found favor primarily with the burgeoning domestic market. Kutani ware features large plates decorated in bold designs that embrace the entire surface of the form. The rich enamel palette comprises blue, green, red, yellow, and aubergine applied in bold contrasting patterns. While most of these designs feature compositions with imaginary Chinese scenery, another important group presents imagery done in a classical Japanese-style painting vocabulary. This plate, with its background of mustard yellow ferns acting as a foil for the truncated branch of a persimmon tree, is a splendid example of Kutani's exuberance. It is an innovate motif not unlike those in the highly decorative and imaginatively designed compositions of the Rimpa School of artists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. And while those artists were justly famous in their day, very little can be factually stated about the Kutani kilns and their potters. Thus far the potters, decorators, and patrons of the ware remain anonymous. Yet along with Nabeshima, Kutani is among the most sought after of all Japanese porcelains. M.R.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1964.245
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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