A Set of Ten Small 18th Century Japanese Porcelain Dishes

c.1740 - 1780

A Set of Ten Small 18th Century Japanese Porcelain Dishes, Arita Kilns c.1740 – 1780. These thickly potted foliate dishes depict Scholars Objects. To the center is a screen decorated with flowering Prunus, to the left a scroll-table with a brushpot with brushes, to the right is an open book with text. These dishes are decorated in blue and white with gilt highlights.

The term `Scholar’s object` refers to something used by a Chinese scholar in his or her studio, it includes everything from scroll-tables, desks, screens, and chairs to the smaller objects found on the scholar’s desk. The material used for these desk objects varied greatly, from bamboo to stone, ivory, wood, and metal, but ceramics were by far the most commonly used material, even though ceramics rated lowest in ranking of importance. Bamboo, ivory or wood might not be durable enough and metal was sometimes too heavy but ceramic objects could be thrown or moulded into an infinite variety of forms. Most of the objects made centred around the functions of writing and painting. Brushpots of different sizes and shape were needed to take the various types of brush, the same applies to brush rests. Water-droppers for adding water to dry solid ink when it was ground on an inkstone, as well as the inkstones themselves were all needed, as were water-pots and brush-washers. All of these could be made of porcelain. But these were not merely functional items, they conveyed symbolic mean, often enhancing scholarly virtues and the wish for longevity. They were meant to inspire the writer, poet, and artist but it is clear they could also exhibit a great sense of humour, sometimes having almost childlike quality.


One dish has a minute glaze frit c.1mm. Some wear to the gilding.
Diameter : 10.2 cm (4 inches)
Stock number