Signed Kogyo with publisher’s seal on lower left, very good impression and color, very minor wear, large red collector’s seal
Oban tate-e: 10 x 14 ¾ in.
Used for grinding ink sticks to make ink for painting and calligraphy. These two palettes were fashioned on the potter’s wheel from dense, thick porcelain. The upper surface is left unglazed for ink grinding. The circular grinding area is slightly concave and is surrounded by a channel for water used in the ink-making process. Both are incised with a design of stylized bats encircling the perimeter of the body and glazed with a deep, vibrant cobalt blue. The buses and footrings are unglazed exposing the dense porcelain body, oxidized in places to a pale orange tone. Both pieces have old damages to the foot area, some of which have been repaired. The damages in both cases appear to have occurred in the firing process possibly from pieces of fired clay that adhered to the footring and were chipped off after removal from the kiln. The palettes are heavy and both sit flat on the table. Although they show evidence of their use and age, they are fully usable today.
Diameter: 4 7/8 in.; Height: 1 1/8 in. and 1 1/16 in.
Original Japanese black lacquer and brocade frame. Postcard size print with borders likely trimmed. Print in good condition, but not examined outside frame.
Print: 3 ¾ in. x 5 ½ in., Frame: 9 in. x 7 ¼ in.
Body and rim are densely inlaid with silver in various geometric patterns. There are medallions on two sides with silver-inlaid scenes of a pair of deer and a pair of cranes, both being symbols of longevity. On the adjacent sides are movable pendant handles with fretwork inlay. The interior and base have a blackish oxidation and areas of minor rust. Condition is very good. The silver is all intact. Some lopsidedness is characteristic of this type of work and is a result of the original craftsmanship. Braziers such as this one were used in the man’s quarters of the Korean house, being used for hand-warming, a smoking accessory and for burning incense.
Length: 6 in. (square); Height: 5 in.
This tall, slender figure is carved from cedar in Enku's so-called hatchet style. Enku was a yamabashi, or traveling priest, whose mission was to serve the remote villages of rural Japan-- particularly those in the more northern parts. As acts of devotion, he produced thousands of Buddhist carvings over the course of his life-- many of which were given by him to the temples he served as well as the parishioners.
This figure is probably an image of the Buddhist rain and dragon deity, Zennyo Ryuo, standing upon a rock, holding a tablet against his chest with a dragon mask surmounting his head. It appears this carving was covered in a thin, dark lacquer, much of which is now worn away. Overall, the condition is good. Purchased in Kyoto in 1973, and sold as a 19th Century “Mingei” Buddha.
Height: 18 ½ in., Width: 3 in.
The top is decorated with a mountainous landscape with trees and stylized birds in flight. The sides have three calligraphic flourishes. A low footring encircles the glazed base. Sand and kiln grit covers the entire footring with small areas of sand adhering to the base. The pouring spout has been restored and there is a small, shallow chip on the top near the edge above the mountain.
Diameter: 3 ¼ in.; Height: 1 3/8 in.
Acquired in Japan in 1975.
This two-handles stoneware vase's body is covered in a creamy slip glaze which is carved through with a peony design to reveal the light brown clay body. The entire vase except for the foot is covered in a very thin clear glaze enriching the tone of both slip and body. The light brown clay body is exposed on the footring and base. A small amount of burial earth adheres to the foot and base. It is in good condition.
Height: 8 in., Diameter: 4 ¼ in.
This bronze sculpture of a ram is rather heavy cast and has well-delineated features in both face and coat. It is in good condition and it has its original applied reddish-brown patina overall. No signature is present. This particular subject is not often seen among Japanese bronze sculptures, and it is likely from a set of twelve zodiac figures. Acquired in North Carolina in the early 1980s.
Length: 9 in., Width: 4 ¾ in., Height: 7 ½ in., Weight: about 7 pounds.
Painted in thick overglaze enamels with a scene of fish with human bodies brandishing sticks at a large turtle-like creature. The base in inscribed in gold enamel with a date, a four-character seal and the English name, Thomas Bigelow written in katakana script. The date reads: Meiji 39 (1906), fourth month, tenth day. It is unusual to find specifically dated porcelains and particularly with an individual western name inscribed. This item might have been part of a set ordered by Bigelow or a design furnished by him. Slight wear to the gilding on the rim and minor unevenness to the footring from the firing, but overall good condition.
Diameter: 8 ¼ in.; Height: 1 ½ in.
This vase is decorated in overglaze enamels over an imperial yellow enamel ground. The base has an apocryphal six-character Kangxi mark in underglaze blue. Two stylized handles glazed in coral enamel decorate the neck. The base and interior are glazed white. The footring is unglazed. It is in good condition. Acquired from the collection of Evangeline Johnson of the Robert Wood Johnson family.
Height: 14 ½ in., Width: 11 in.
As with most blanc de chine figures, this piece was made in a press mold in two halves, then joined together with finishing touches added before the clay was dry. The face was molded separately then attached, and the hands and ribbon were modeled by hand. It is glazed overall except for the base with a pale blue-green tinged white glaze having a slight undulating texture. Guanyin is seated on a rock covered by her flowing robe on the back and sides. The folds of the robe are indicated by carved and incised lines. The unglazed base shows the white porcelain which appears to be like that of Jingdezhen rather than Dehua. The bluish toned glaze also looks like Jingdezhen glaze, so this piece was likely not from Dehua where figures such as this one were most often produced. This piece was likely made for a small shrine. The aperture on the middle back was perhaps used for attachment or possibly for the insertion of prayers. Overall good condition with no breaks or repairs, however there is some glaze fritting in a few places on the left sleeve, the right eyelid, the top of the hood and a tiny one to the side of the nose. Fritting like this is also often seen on Jingdezhen pieces.
Height: 8 in.; Width: 3 in.
Set of six glazed miniatures made for an altar to be interred in the tomb of an upper-class person. Made in the shape of nuts, vegetables, a boar’s head, ingots and long rolls to provide symbolic sustenance in the afterlife. A few minor chips and some soil from burial, otherwise good condition.
Size: Length, Height
Logs: 2 ½ in., 2 ¼ in.
Boar’s head: 2 ½ in., 2 in.
Walnuts: 1 ¾ in., 2 3/8 in.
Vegetables: 1 7/8 in., 2 ¼ in.
Ingots: 1 ¾ in., 1 7/8 in.
The black enameled background provides a striking contrast with the colorful flowers in brilliant shaded enamels. Lilies, chrysanthemums, peonies, iris, and other blossoms cover the entire exterior of the bowl, even the entire exterior of the foot down to the footring. The interior is glazed white and left undecorated, further enhancing the contrasting effect of the exterior and interior. The base is glazed white and displays a four-character Qianlong mark in iron-red overglaze enamel. Good condition, no repairs or restorations.
Height: 2 ½ in.; Diameter: 6 ¼ in.
Glazed on the biscuit with green, yellow and brown enamels. On the base are three unglazed spots on which the piece was fired. Stopper in the form of bat, handle in form of stem and spout in the form of blossom. Very good condition with only minor construction flaws glazed over in the firing.
Width: 3 in.; Height: 2 7/8 in.
This lidded jar is painted with two lion dogs frolicking among peony flowers, all on an imperial yellow ground. The lid is similarly decorated with a single peony bloom. Both the interiors of the jar and lid are unglazed showing the fine white paste. The inset base is covered in a thin clear glaze with an incised double ring. The footring is unglazed and there is minor soiling to it and to the interior of the jar. The condition is good, without damage or restoration.
Height: 7 5/8 in., Width: 6 in.
This porcelain bowl, molded in chrysanthemum form, is decorated in underglaze cobalt blue and overglaze enamels in red, green and gold. The center of the interior is painted with a 16-petaled flower in underglaze blue, and the well is painted with various plant and landscape scenes. The exterior is surrounded with an underglaze blue floral pattern, and the base is painted with a Chinese “Chenghua” mark, as is often seen on 18th and early 19th Century Imari dishes. The bowl is slightly out of round, but without damages or restorations.
Diameter: 7 in., Height: 2 1/8 in.
This incense-burner was originally lacquered a reddish brown tone with traces remaining, and has small areas of verdigris on the base and handles. The interior has some verdigris and encrusted ash. The base is cast in the center with an archaistic style six-character Xuande mark. The overall surface is darkened and has worn unevenly from age and use. A design of two opposing phoenix birds wraps around the body in shallow incising work. Overall good condition. Acquired in England in the 1970s.
Diameter: 3 7/8 in., Height: 3 in., Weight: 467 grams exactly, about 1 pound.
Signed Kogyo with artists’s seal on L.R., fan-shaped publisher’s seal, excellent impression and color, gilt metallic printing on robe, some very minor creasing and very light soiling to corners, otherwise good condition, large red collector’s seal on verso.
Oban tate-e: 10 x 14 ¾ in.