Here is a charming complementary pair of Imari plates formed as fish - their mouths, eyes, fins, gills and tails in relief. Washes of deep underglaze blue accented in gilt decorate the head and tail. A free-form cartouche exhibits an elegant ho-o bird in-flight over sprays of pawlonia on one plate and a fan-shaped cartouche with groves of morning glories on the other - both on an iron red ground. Small areas depict stylized chidori above turbulent waves. (In Japan, surrounded by water, fish are a precious food source for the country and are associated with affluence.) This lovely pair of fish plates is in very good condition.
19th Century, Japan