Antiques 5-09-09

This is a Momoyama period Karatsu mukotsuke. It was originally part of a 5 piece set. There are a lot of complete sets to be had but there are far more incomplete sets around. Many, like this one,  have only one bowl left of the set. Because of this there is a term in Japanese that is “yoseimuko”. The “yosei” comes from a word meaning, in this case, to draw together, to bring together. The “muko” part, in this case, means bowl although the meaning is a little different. The word “yoseimuko” means to bring together 5 mukotsuke, or small plates,  to make a set or group.  Of course the set is a set of  what appear to be mismatched plates but in fact form a matched set. As I was learning about this plate I heard a story. The dealer and his father went to a tea gathering in Kobe. The dealer that was telling me the story is now 86 years old so the events in this story happened many years ago. At the tea party the father praised the person putting on the party on the quality of the yoseimuko he had put together. It was made up of 5 very rare and fine mukotsuke. The host replied with a laugh that he actually had the remaining 4 plates for each of the 5 in the set. The reason he had made a yosei set is he had had a particularly persnickety customer that day and had wanted to make him happy by showing him all five plates.

While I was looking at this bowl I was trying to see if I would recognize it as a genuine Momoyama piece. I do see the bottom in all aspects as genuine but the top would throw me. The top doesn’t have the feel I would expect. Lacking in depth, the iron decoration appears newer than I would expect. I do believe it is genuine but I would probably have been more dismissive of it had I seen it for sale somewhere else.


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2 Responses to “Antiques 5-09-09”

  1. Dean Kelly Says:

    Interesting piece Dave. I would also have a difficult time as recognizing this piece as 16th-17th century. The shiny finish to the glaze would throw me.

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