A barbed Arita dish, late 17th Century.

The centre of the dish, which is 21.4cm in diameter, is painted in underglaze blue with a design composed of two shikishi, the squares of special paper used in Japan for painting and calligraphy. The uppermost square is folded at one corner and depicts a beaker of prunus blossom on a low table, all of which would once have been outlined in silver, which has now oxidised. Every element of the design is evocative of gentlemanly refinement. Three spur marks on the base show where the dish rested on its sagger during firing.


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