A Kakiemon figure of a boy, Japanese, 1670/90.

The figure is seated on a gridded table which is probably for the game of shogi and would originally have held a puppy, as other similar figures are known to do.

It is decorated in a combination of underglaze blue and Kakiemon colours, excluding yellow; the orange-red apron embellished with a formalised flower spray and the slab sides of the table painted with stylised lotus.

The table top is marked out for the game in underglaze blue and pierced for the use of scholar’s utensils; each of the figure’s shoulders is also pierced with an aperture.

Shogi, meaning general’s board game, is a Japanese version of chess which was probably introduced to Japan as early as the 8th Century.


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