Blue and white porcelain dishes of this size would have been made for the Kaieski, the tea ceremony meal.
Ko-Sometsuke, meaning `Old Blue and White` is a term used to describe Chinese blue and white porcelain made for Japan. This late Ming porcelain was made from the Wanli period (1573-1620) and ended in the Chongzhen period (1628-1644), the main period of production being the 1620`2 and 1630`s. The porcelain objects produced were made especially for the Japanese market, both the shapes and the designs were tailored to Japanese taste, the production process too allowed for Japanese aesthetics to be included in the finished object. Its seams firing faults were added, repaired tears in the leather-hard body were too frequent to not, in some cases, be deliberate. These imperfections as well as the fritting Mushikui (insect-nibbled) rims and kiln grit on the footrims all added to the Japanese aesthetic. The shapes created were often expressly made for the Japanese tea ceremony meal, the Kaiseki, small dishes for serving food at the tea ceremony are the most commonly encountered form. Designs, presumably taken from Japanese drawings sent to China, are very varied, often using large amount of the white porcelain contrasting well with the asymmetry of the design.
Extensive fritting to the rim.
Diameter : 21 cm (8 1/4 inches)
For a similar dish but without the herder but with a boy on the back of one of the buffalo : see Heibonsha Series Vol. 15 (Seito Kikutaro and Fuijio Koyama,1965) plate 51. For a Ko-Sometsuke dish of a similar design dated to Tianqi see : The Peony Pavilion Collection : Chinese Tea Ceramics for Japan (c.1580-1650). Christie`s London 12th June 1989 lot 240. For a further Ming blue and white porcelain dish of this type but with a part flower-head border, dated to Tianqi 1621-1627, see : Ming Porcelain For The Japanese Market, Ko-Sometsuke and Ko-Akai (S.Marchant and Son, Introduction by Julia B. Curtis, 2008) page 54, plate 26.
Stock number: 24230.