TIANQI 1621 – 1627 Transitional Porcelain

A Ming Porcelain Ko-Sometsuke (Old Blue and White) Dish Made for the Japanese Market, Tianqi Period 1621-1627. The Circular Form is Decorated with a Bleak Winters Scene of a Pine Tree and the Bare Branches of Another Tree. The Base with Pronounced `Chatter Marks`.


Very good, the rim with Mushikui (insect-nibbled) edge.
Diameter : 16.5 cm (6 1/2 inches)
Stock number



This unimposing rather awkward design uses many Japanese artistic devices. Asymmetric, using only sections of tree it creates a carefully understood white space with tension built up by contrasting forms. The painting with sketchy hesitant outlines and wet uneven infilling adds to this tension. The imperfect glaze has small pits in it and the surface undulates to create what the Japanese refer to as a landscape. What the Chinese thought of this esthetically is hard to contemplate but it is certainly the antithesis of imperial Chinese porcelain.

Ming Porcelain for Japan :
During the late Ming Period the Chinese made a large among of porcelain for the Japanese market, it 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.