The dish is of flat form with a slightly upturned rim decorated with a band of stylised ju’i, magic fungus, whilst the cavetto and principal portion of the dish is painted in reverse against a blue ground with an arrangement of plants and rocks with what appears at first sight to be a traditional Chinese formal garden of Chrysanthemums, kikua, Plantain, Basho amongst viewing stones, however on closer examination the scene is composed purely from marine elements, kaisou, sea weeds, kaimen, sponges, and sango, corals. Although marine subjects are not rare, predominantly fish, shells and seaweed, it is very unusual to see what amounts to an undersea garden, kaitei teien, showing corals and sponges in a relatively naturalistic setting.
The mikomi of the dish contains a curious flower like motif composed of ten stylised petals with a pinwheel centre set within a ground divided by six partially obscured cursive hook like lines surrounded by a conventional zig zag border of demi-florets. The reverse is plain but for a six character nien hao for the Chinese Emperor Wanli. The plain reverse is characteristic of the Meiwa era and suggests a date of around 1780
Stylistically the dish is decorated in a manner that was particularly popular in the latter half of the 18th century. Similar designs were produced by the Chinese for the Japanese market in the late Ming period, Tianqi to Chongzhen, which may in turn have been referencing similar reverse painted patterns produced during the sixteenth century.
The dish measures 20cm in diameter and stands approximately 2.6cm high and is in excellent condition with no cracks chips or restoration. Both the potting, the porcelain, the cobalt blue and the standard of the painting is of a very high quality. See no 3694 at page 469 bowl and cover in the same pattern, without the central motif dated c.1780-1810 The Complete Catalogue of the Shibata Collection, Meiwa to Bunkua.
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