Mukozuke Dishes with Camellia Design

  • Kyoto
  • Edo period
  • 18-19c
  • Kenzan ware, overglaze enamels
  • H-7.2 D-8
Catalogue Entry

Set of 5 dishes
Edo period, 18th to 19th centuries
Kenzan ware, overglaze enamel
Height, 7.2cm; mouth diameter, 8.2cm;
foot diameter, 3.8cm

Covered entirely in a white slip, these mukozuke dishes and their covers were then coated with a transparent glaze and fired. Green pigment was then applied as an overglaze enamel technique. This green pigment was brushed over paper stencils, leaving some of the white slip-covered areas uncovered to create the outlines of white camellia blossoms. Yellow pigment was used to paint in the flowers' pistils and stamens. Pentagon-shaped areas can be seen beneath the green pigment on the inside of the lids, but as they were created through the conscious changing of the transparent glaze layer over the white slip, the stepped visual effect created by these pentagons was clearly the aim of this procedure.

The white camellias scattered on a green ground concept used in these mukozuke dishes is found occasionally in Kenzan ware, and there are related bowls with handles and sets of mukozuke dishes. The placement of the Kenzan signature on the inside of the lid is rare, and it is hard to find other comparable examples.

The signature itself resembles the calligraphy style of signatures seen on works that have been introduced as the work of Kenzan III of Kyoto, Miyata Gosuke. Miyata's signature resembles that of Kenzan's signature during his Iriya period in Edo, and it would seem that these works are probably relatively late examples during Kenzan ware. YO