£150 - $210
The subject is taken directly from a famous Neo-Confucian text on filial piety known as the "Twenty four Exemplars" (Japanese nijûshikô ) by Guo Jujing. This is the first exemplar in the series entitled Xiào Găn Dòng Tiān His Filial Piety Moves Heaven and Earth . In which the author recounts the story of Shun, whose selfless acts of filial piety brought him to the attention of the Emperor, who marries him to his daughter and makes him his heir.
This is one of the examples of his selflessness. Sent by his father to clear land in the wilderness, he is aided in his task by herds of Elephants and flocks of birds.
"Herds of Elephants plough in the Spring, Flocks of birds pull the weeds; He is the heir of Yao and mounts its Throne; the spirit of filial piety moves the Heart of Heaven".
The dish is of hakukaku form and decorated in kakiwake reverse style. The border is decorated with the four scenes of the Elephants tilling the land, the Birds scattering the seeds and Shun hoeing and tending the crop. The scenes interconnected by a meandering web of paths. The central mikomi shows a figure contemplating a building enclosed by banded hedges, presumably a representation of the Emperor. The reverse is decorated with a celebratory procession of figures bearing ribboned fans and other objects in a scene punctuated by prayer flags blowing in the wind. A small seal mark is painted in the centre of the dish but is obscured by one of the five spurs arranged in an X pattern. The Neo-Confucian sentiments of the text would have been in harmony with the prevailing politics of the Kansei Bakufu. Dating 1780-1800.
The dish measures 21.5cm in diameter and stands approximately 3cm high. The dish is in good condition no cracks, chips or restoration, some minute fritting to the rim. Shipping within the UK included in the sterling price. Worldwide shipping included in the $ price.