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.”)
Wood-carved flywhisk is shape of a woman. Her torso doubles as the whisk handle and is scarified with leaden inlay, which has been worn smooth due to extended use. A red cotton wrap marks the transition zone between the female’s torso and the buffalo hair whisk below. The whisk visually acts as a grass skirt completing the above figure’s body and dress.
Whisks are the prerogative of rulers, divination experts or judges. This one seems to be of special importance given its intricate surface design. The figure raises her arm to her head making a gesture that indicates that she is also in the process of whisking up and down.