Antiques 7-31-10

I first saw a set of Hagi plates from about the beginning of the Edo period. They are interesting in a couple of ways. When they were fired clam shells were used as stilts so they wouldn’t stick to the shelves. The clay shows indentations from the shells and shows the weight of the plate left further impressions on the foot. The quality of the clay is also notable. It has a very nice flash from the kiln. The feet of the 5 plates are different. I don’t think these are a set in the sense they were made to be one set. One completely lacks a foot and the others have significant differences. On the underside of 2 of the plates are kiln scars. It looks like the pieces sagged and touched some other piece in the kiln.

Second is a kyobako from the end of the Kamakura into the Muromachi period, about 700 years ago. This is a box that would have been used for holding prayer scrolls. It is lacquer with mother of pearl inlay.  The design motifs are hyo or hyoou if you really want to transliterate it correctly, and some other figure.  The pattern on the lid isn’t prescribed. It changes with every kyobako. The pictures don’t do justice to the detail in the shell inlay. It is very fine and well done. There is cracking of the lacquer on the lid that is an area focused on by counterfeiters. I have posted pictures before of a table, here, that is a newer vintage that has the cracks, called danmon. The kyobako pictured in this post is genuine and it is easy to see the difference in the mimicked danmon and the real McCoy.  This kyobako has made the rounds of this dealer. He sold it sometime ago and the buyer’s son brought it back after the death of the owner to sell it as the son isn’t a collector.

I ran into some difficulties today and only had time to stay for a short time looking at work.

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