Rare Japanese Koto-Yaki Porcelain Tokkuri
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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1900: item # 331167
Please refer to our stock # 2C-388 when inquiring.
B & C Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418
This most unusual Koto ware sake bottle in sharp rectangular form with a high flat shoulder is finely decorated with karako and floral designs hand painted in “aka-e” red and gold enamels on a white ground. Mid-19th century. The base is signed with the two character red mark found on Koto-yaki, which in Japanese means "East of the Lake." The body is decorated with cartouches containing karako (small Chinese children) on two of the sides and chrysanthemums and plum blossoms on the other two sides. The shoulder is decorated with red and gold key fret designs in heart-shaped medallions and diamonds containing the stylized semi-circular overlapping waves called “seigaiha.”
Koto wares were produced at the eastern end of Japan's largest freshwater lake, Lake Biwa, at the beginning of the 19th century. They are not widely known abroad but have their place in the historical development of Japanese ceramics. The kilns were established about 1829 and came into the possession of the Daimyo of Hikone in 1842 at a time when Chinese things were in high favor with the rulers of the country. In an attempt to revive the prosperity of the kilns, the daimyo invited famous potters from kilns all over Japan to come and instruct his potter workmen. Among the many who came was Zengoro Hozen of the Eiraku line of potters. He taught the Koto potters his specialties of “aka-e” (red picture) and “kinrande” (gold pictures on a red ground). The most productive years of the kilns were between 1844 and 1853 when many superior porcelains were made. The kilns were closed down in 1895. This obscure “maboroshi” style of Japanese porcelain can look almost identical to Kutani wares. Maboroshi means “phantom” – in the sense that it was here and then vanished, becoming rare and treasured. Today Koto wares are highly valued and good examples hardly ever come on the market. (For an informative discussion of Koto-yaki, visit www.e-yakimono.net.) Condition is perfect. Ex. collection Dr. Harry Thomsen. Dimensions: 7 ½” high, 4 ½” square at shoulder, 2 5/8” square at base.