A pair of octagonal plates, Japanese, late 17th Century.

The plates are decorated in the Kakiemon palette in what has come to be known as the ‘Hob-in-the-Well’ pattern.

The scene depicts the youthful initiative of the 11th Century Chinese statesman Sima Guang who rescued a drowning friend from a massive water jar by smashing it with a rock.

To the left, Sima Guang is seen hurling the rock, whilst a third friend pulls their companion from the now broken pot as a stream of water flows from it.

On the extreme right, lotus and bamboo stalks arch around the scene.

The flat rim is decorated with lotus, chrysanthemum and fern with an iron-brown edge, 24cm in diameter.

The same pattern was later copied at both the Meissen and Chelsea factories, in the latter of which the title ‘Hob in the Well’ was apparently coined.


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