An 18th Century Arita Porcelain Awabi Dish. This Dish is Moulded in the Form of Abalone Shell (Haliotis gigantea, abalone or Sea-ear. Awabi in Japanese). Decorated in Underglaze Blue with Green, Red and Black Enamels, Embellished with Gilding. The Design Shows Waves Crashing Over Sea-Shells and Plants. The Base with a Inaccurately Drawn Chenghua Mark (Chinese, Ming Dynasty, 1465-1487).
Condition: Perfect but with a firing crack to the rim.
Size: Diameter : 22 cm (8 3/4 inches)
Provenance:The Jack Johnson Collection (label to the back).
The World In Colours (Oriental Ceramic Society), Brunei Gallery, S.O.A.S. 2006. Item 133 (label to the back).
The World In Colours, An Exhibition of Ceramics with Coloured Decoration Dating from 700 to 1920 Belonging to Member of the Oriental Ceramic Society (Oriental Ceramic Society,Commercial Colour Press Plc, 2006. ISBN 0-903421-27-5). Page 66, plate 133. Incorrectly described as 19th Century in the catalogue, there are later versions of this type known, but they date to the early 20th century.
For a group of 18th Century Japanese Porcelain shell dishes dish of this type dated to 1750-1780 see : Shibata Collection Part 4, The Establishment and Transformation of the Ko-Imari Style (The Kyushu Ceramic Museum, Saga Prefecture, Akihiko Shibata and Yuko Shibata and others.1995). Page 120 plates 214-219, plate 217 being the same design as the present example.
For another example see 18447 and 21260 in our `Sold Items`.
Abalone Dishes :
Japanese porcelain dishes like the present example would have been made in sets of five or ten and used for serving sea-food. Abalone is a shellfish found in great quantity on the southern shores of Japan but it is present in the seas of other countries as well. In Japan, live and raw abalone is used in awabi sushi, or served steamed, salted, boiled, chopped, or simmered in soy sauce. Salted, fermented abalone entrails are the main component of tottsuru, a local dish from Honshū. Tottsuru is mainly enjoyed with sake. The shell this marine gastropod is extensively employed for inlaying in lacquer-work in both China and Japan.