A Very Rare 17th Century Japanese Porcelain Brush
A Very Rare 17th Century Japanese Porcelain Brush, Arita Kilns c.1640-1670. This thin porcelain brush is solid apart from the cavity made to take the bristles of the brush. It’s likely that very few were made, the firing process was difficult and required special techniques. This brush is decorated with trailing wisteria flowers and its vine like leaves. In Japan the plant is symbolic of long life, prosperity, and good fortune. The end of this brush is unglazed and it is possible that is was cut down. However, the only other Japanese brush I am aware of, has the same flat unglazed top. This Japanese brush dated to c.1640-1650, is illustrated in Shibata Collection, Volume VI (Commemorative Exhibition of The Donation, Shibata Collection VI – Techniques and Decorative Methods used in the Edo Period. The Kyushu Ceramic Museum. 1998. Yamaguchi Printing Co. Ltd) on page 165, plate 269. The text mentions that brushes were fired upright with a further support at the other end (the unglazed top). This Shibata brush is longer and is decorated in blue and white with overglaze enamels. Porcelain brushes were made in the Ming dynasty, Sotheby’s London had two or three from the early 17th century in an auction many years ago. They were very thin, like the present example. There is also a large brush in the Percival David Foundation at the British Museum.
- Possibly cut down, however the unglazed end looks very much the same as the one in Shibata. Please see full description. A very tiny glaze crack or crack to the collar that holds the brush (about 2mm). Glaze crack.
- Length of the porcelain shaft : 13.2 cm (5 1/4 inches). Width at widest point 5mm.
- Stock number
- For a related Japanese porcelain brush dated to c.1640-1650, see : Shibata Collection, Volume VI (Commemorative Exhibition of The Donation, Shibata Collection VI - Techniques and Decorative Methods used in the Edo Period. The Kyushu Ceramic Museum. 1998. Yamaguchi Printing Co. Ltd) on page 165, plate 269.