An intriguing set of five small dishes kozara decorated in kakiwake sometsuke style with a design of three Chinese boys, karako, manoeuvring a large snow ball, set within a yukiwa snow flake shaped reserve framed by a band of plum blossom set against a dark blue ground.
The design is a variant of the “One hundred boys playing” pattern popular on Chinese porcelain from at least the Yongle period. The immediate source of the design would appear to be taken from a woodblock polychrome print by Kitagawa Utamaru in an ehon (published 1790) called “The Silver World” Gin Sekai, “snowscape” where the central figure behind the snowball has a strikingly similar headdress to that in this design, although the arrangement of the figures and the incorporation of plum blossom in the design would suggest a familiarity with an earlier work by Suzuki Hanorubu, the Giant Snowball. Both may be an adapted from a pre-existing design. An almost identical set of dishes similarly decorated, less well executed, is held in the Shibata Collection no 367 Volume IV there dated c.1780-1810
This kind of design would have been appropriate to an occasion such as a Yuki no shuen, a snow celebrating party. The dishes measure approximately 10.7 cm in diameter, and are in good condition with no cracks, chips or restoration. Shipping at Cost.