A fine moulded porcelain dish of “Ko Sometsuke” kaiseki type decorated in underglaze blue largely in kakiwake, reverse painted style, with a floral arabesque to the rim. The cavetto plainly painted in blue wash and the well of the dish painted with auspicious pendant Buddhist jewels, yoraku, with three reserves each containing a figure of a Namban in a spotted tunic and hose with a ruff to his neck, and a matching frills to his waist and the hem of his tunic.
The rather curious “Namban” figure is a conflation of a number of European theatrical characters. The principal of which is the “Merrie Andrew” or “Jack pudding”, an English character that engendered a number of continental equivalents, “Hans Wurst” in Germany, “Jean Potage” in France, “Pickel Herring” in Holland and so on. A common feature of all the characters was a prodigious appetite for food. Inevitably one can also see elements from the commedia dell’arte figures Pulcinella and Harlequin, notably in the costume of the figure, as these various characters melded together during the course of the 18th century.
A possible direct precedent for the figure is a mid 18C Delft plate which shows two figures, the Mountebank, Hans Buling (a Dutchman), and his assistant "Merry Andrew" with their monkey on a stage. The scene is adapted from an English Print from the Cries of London series by Marcellus Laroon (also a Dutchman). Originally it appears that Han’s played the “Merry Andrew” figure himself and trained up a monkey to perform this part. Subsequently a separate Merry Andrew figure appears as part of the ensemble. Similar contemporary Arita versions of this figure show him with a “monkey” to his left and what may be a “sausage” in his hand. See Shibata Collection Volume I no 460.
The reverse is undecorated as is typical of the late 18th century. A single character mark for “Storm”, Arashi, is painted within the foot-ring. The mark occurs on porcelain that comes from one of the Kakiemon heritage kilns of the Nangawara valley. Examples of this form of dish were also produced at the Kakiemon kiln in the late seventeenth century. For similar Ko Sometsuke examples of the form see The Peony pavilion lots 220 and 221.
The dish measures 22cm in diameter and is in good condition no cracks chips or restoration. It dates to the late 18th century circa 1780-1800. Shipping at Cost.