Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art
A Japanese Seto Ware Ishizara Plate – 18th/19th Century

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1837 VR: item # 699645

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Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
Post Office Box 395
Marion, CT 06444-0395

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A Japanese Seto Ware Ishizara Plate – 18th/19th Century
This is a fine Seto Ware stoneware ishizara plate, with a cream-colored slip over a buff stoneware body and painted over in gosu blue and in iron oxide with a design of a small bird flying next to a tall bamboo stalk. Seto was one of the "Six Old Kilns", the six major ceramic traditions of medieval Japan. This plate is an excellent, characteristic example of Seto folk pottery.

The ishizara plates were heavy plates used at village inns and wayside booths to serve travelers with herring or fish and vegetables cooked in soy sauce. The word “ishizara” literally translates to “stone plate”. Ishizara plates have a crackled yellowish-grey translucent glaze of a soft texture and is often slightly defective owing to lumps of grit adhering to the plate – see the rims of this dish for an example of this. These were decorated in subdued blues and browns with most of the motifs taken from plants, but birds – such as found on this plate – are not uncommon.

The painting was done is a classic Mingei (folk art) style done in simple, free brush strokes and asymmetrical design. The back of the plate is undecorated other than the yellowish-grey glaze – the base is unglazed. We date this plate to the Edo period, circa 1780-1830. It is in excellent condition with one tiny chip on the rim.

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