The circular, smaller white porcelain plate has a design of gourds, flowers, vines and leaves around the rim. The gourds are outlined with blue underglaze and colored with yellow overglaze. Blue underglaze and transparent green overglaze are used for the leaves. The flowers and vines are drawn with red. The red enamel is worn off from some of the tendrils, a characteristic of 18th century Nabeshima. The reverse side has four clustered jewel or treasure motifs with four bows and streamers repeated three times. On the shallow foot, bold lines are drawn in a row like a comb. The design on the back is all drawn with blue underglaze. (Referencce: Becker, Sister Johanna. “A Group of Nabeshima Porcelain.")
The Nabeshima wares were used by the local governing family as part of their annual tribute to the Tokugawa overlords.
In this elegant but witty design, the rim of the plate is considered as a trills from which the gourds are hanging.
A circular, smaller white porcelain plate. On the upper surface, three vases, similar in shape, are shown overlapping diagonally in blue background. The two outer vases run off the plate’s rim. They are outlined in underglaze blue and are against a painted light-blue background. The left vase is covered with a white glaze (which left unpainted) under a red key-fret design. The center vase is totally covered with a white crackle pattern done in blue underglaze line. The right vase has a design of evenly-spaced red flowers. Precise flat bases are combined with a rather awkward suggestion of a three-dimensional view of the lips. The back has a triple representation of peony buds surrounded by fine branching stems and leaves. On the shallow foot, bold lines are drawn in a row like a comb. The design on the back is all drawn with blue underglaze. (Referencce: Becker, Sister Johanna. “A Group of Nabeshima Porcelain.”)
The Nabeshima wares were used by the local governing family as part of their annual tribute to the Tokugawa overlords.The three vases depicted here may be derived from some of Chinese T’ang ceramics, for the lower section of the fret and flower vases is suggesting an area left unglazed with the glaze running down towards the foot of the vases, a design which is seen in those Chinese ceramics. But the exact patterns drawn here indicate that the artist was not a ceramist or he would know that such precise patterns could not be preserved in a fluid glaze. (Referencce: Becker, Sister Johanna. “A Group of Nabeshima Porcelain.”)
A medium size, well potted porcelain jar with wooden rid, round shoulder and neck. Floral designs are painted with blue underglaze and red and gold overglaze enamels. There are Chinese scholar and attendant boy with a fan on one side and Japanese lady in kimono on the opposite side, painted with enamels. Band of flowers on the neck, another broader band of chrysanthemums on the shoulder. There is also a band of leaf patterns on the bottom. A large crack from neck to the middle of the body; porcelain glaze has small cracks all over the body. The foot is unglazed; the eye is fully glazed. No glaze on the rim. The teak wood lid, a later addition, has a finial made of an ivory netsuke of laughing Hotei.
The Chinese sage with an attendant and flower maiden might be T’ao Yüan-ming, celebrated scholar and poet in Tang period. After his early retirement, he lived in his little estate where he planted many chrysanthemums and other flowers, and enjoyed drinking wine. The pot-bellied, half naked man Hotei is one of the “Seven gods of felicity,” the god of contentment and happiness. Partly Taoist and partly Buddhist origin, he is generally identified with the Chinese priest known as Pu-tai Ho-shang. The date is unknown; he is stated to have lived in the 6th, 7th, and 8th centuries. He carries a bag which is said to contain “precious things” (takaramono).