Ao Imari (blue/green Imari) Sometsuke Kakuzara. A square blue-green Imarai Plate. ca. late 18th- early 19th C. Japan. 10.75" (27.25cm) square.
Shoki Imari, using underglaze cobalt blue painting with oftentimes borrowed Chinese motifs, such as this piece, were made in the Arita kilns near the port of Imari from the 17th Century. This is also an example of fairly rare "Ao Imari," (literally "blue" Imari) with a green-blue background rather than the standard porcelain white background. The image pictured is a blend of both Chinese landscape and a classic image of Japan's Mount Fuji, with the addition of a crane flying in front of a partially clouded sunrise (or "hinode tsuru," rising sun crane, a very auspicious symbol.) A scrolling fence pattern gives partial separation to the two motifs.