Large Bowl with Clouds and Karakusa Vining Floral Patterns

  • Narutaki, Kyoto
  • Edo period
  • 18c
  • Kenzan ware, scraped underglaze decoration
  • H-13.5 D-32
Catalogue Entry

Edo period, 18th century
Kenzan ware, scraped underglaze decoration
Height, 13.5cm; mouth diameter, 31.6cm;
foot diameter, 19.7cm

After the bowl's entire surface was coated in a white slip, iron underglaze decorations were applied and then scraped to express the details of the cloud and vining plant and floral motifs. This white slip, iron underglaze, and scraping method can be notably seen in wares from the Chinese Cizhou kilns and their Korean descendants, and the three horizontally aligned lozenge frames decorating the inside of the bowl and the cloud patterns are also reminiscent of these iron underglaze wares related to the Cizhou kilns.
The transparent glaze which was applied over these iron underglaze paintings has accumulated at the mouth edge, and this indicates that the bowl was dipped upside-down into the glaze and that the resulting final drips of glaze were not wiped off. Further, the clay at the base of the foot is exposed, indicating that both the glaze and the underlayer of white slip were wiped off. The incomplete wiping of the white slip meant that some striped traces of white slip remain. The Kenzan inscription written in iron under-glaze on the inside of the foot relatively closely resembles the underglaze blue inscription found on a tea bowl shard excavated at the Narutaki kiln site and is of the older form of inscription. YO