EastWest Gallery - Chinese, Japanese and English Ceramics.

Arita Kraak Two Oxen on a Bridge Plate c.1680 No 1

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Porcelain: Pre 1700: Item # 1214870

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The plate is decorated in late Ming Kraak “fuyo-de” style with a pattern of alternating panels of flowers, Chrysanthemums and Camellias, with Precious objects, interspersed with pendant Lozenge motifs. The central mikomi framed by a narrow atypical floral band depicts an oversized figure holding a rod standing upon a bridge with two oxen set in a classic Chinese “sansui” landscape’. The reverse decorated with a classic Kraak reverse pattern of the transitional Ming period. The figure it has been suggested is that of the fisherman scholar Taikōbō, Lu Shang or Tai Gongwang. However there does not appear to be a direct precedent for a depiction of him in this form. The positioning of the oxen one each end of the bridge pointing in opposite directions creates an element of dynamic tension within the composition, drawing the eye to it and away from the static figure. Thus this motif is perhaps more central to the interpretation of the whole, than the figure. The Ox has an interesting duality, it can represent in Buddhist thought the unruly mind that needs to be tamed, whilst at the same time it has Confucian nuances, whereby it can represent the stolid virtues of the Confucian scholar, or the embracing of the pastoral life by the scholar official, as an act of reclusion from Court life. Whilst the act of ox-herding itself can also be seen as a metaphor for the virtuous and proper management of the just Confucian scholar gentleman, like the good Ox-herder he manages and carefully tends his herd properly watering and pasturing it thereby ensuring its welfare. The plate dates to the late 17th century circa 1680-1700. The dish measures is 22cm in diameter and is approximately 3cm high to the rim, and is in good condition, no cracks, chips or restoration. Shipping at Cost