Japanese Meiji Blue and White Ceramic Benki
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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1900: item # 805132
Please refer to our stock # 18-46 when inquiring.
Silk Road Gallery
PO Box 2175
Branford, Connecticut 06405, USA
|Salvaged from a Japanese ryokan (inn), this late Meiji blue and white ceramic benki moves easily to a second life as a handsome plant holder or fountain. Western expatriates in the Far East, particularly in Japan, have a long history of adapting utilitarian items with appealing Asian design to inventive new uses, and this is one of the most unusual items to be adapted. This benki, with its cobalt blue patterns, is recognizable as Japanese at first glance but its original use as a urinal is not at all apparent; hence it made its way to a Japanese antique wholesaler knowledgeable in the broad Western taste in utilitarian folk art. We have seen blue and white benki put to attractive and innovative uses quite removed from their initial purpose. They become indoor fountains and planters or, in warm climates, are used in gardens. This one has vivid cobalt flowers, scrolling and key pattern designs. Firing flaws in the heavy ceramic base commonly are found in benki, and here are seen scattered throughout the white glaze, along with one flaw in the blue area on the back (see photo enlargement #5). From the late 18th century, this piece is in solid condition. Dimensions: height 11" (28 cm), width 21" (54 cm), depth 10-1/2" (27). SEE MORE ITEMS IN OUR COLLECTION AT WWW.SILKROAD1.COM|