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Subject:Japanese BW Covered Bowl in Hirado Style
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Jul 27, 2017 IP: 2601:342:80:4e1c:18a

I'm trying to get a better fix on who made this bowl and when. Google queries have turned up nothing similar to its combination of form, decoration and markings, though the form turned up when I did a search for Nabeshima wares (although the pieces were shown only in thumbnails and no confirmation of who made them was forthcoming).

The bowl is 3 3/8 inches high, 4 1/2 inches high with lid and 5 1/4 inches in diameter. It is in good condition except for a shallow flake off the inner edge of the upper rim. There's no damage to the cover.

The hand-painted decoration is stylistically similar to some I've seen on Hirado wares in the "Children Playing" pattern, except this motif is "Scholars in a Bamboo Grove", drawn with the same cartoonish flair. I looked through the Lawrence book on Hirado and didn't see anything similar in this form.

The mark on the knop and inside the foot rim is "Fuki Choshun", "meaning "Riches, Honors and Everlasting Youth". This is borrowed from Chinese porcelain as "Fu, Gui, Chang Chun", with the same meaning, and was used to embellish Japanese wares from the late Edo and Meiji periods and possibly afterward.

In addition to the two written marks, the bowl has an odd circular ring of glazed slip on its inside wall. I consider it possibly to be intended as another marking, perhaps "Enso", the circle associated with Zen. If it was accidental, I don't believe it would have come out of the kiln so perfectly round.

I have a ways to go with my research but will be thankful for anyone's assistance with a jump-start.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Link :Hirado Style Japanese Bowl

Subject:Re: Japanese BW Covered Bowl in Hirado Style
Posted By: Bokaba Sat, Jul 29, 2017

Hi Bill,

Interesting bowl. From what I understand, the Fuki Choshun (富貴長春) mark has been used since the early 19th through early 20th Century. The underglaze boys playing theme seems to be widespread on Japanese Hirado export porcelains. Most of the earlier pieces tend to have the mark is a diamond formation. The square form appears around late 19th Century. I think your bowl is probably c. 1900, late Meiji Period, but would be interested to see what others think.


Subject:Re: Japanese BW Covered Bowl in Hirado Style
Posted By: Bill H Sun, Jul 30, 2017

Appreciate the remarks, Bokaba, while noting that James Lord Bowes, in his 1882 book, "Japanese Marks & Seals", cites the presence of the "square" Fuki Choshun" blue mark on several items of Japanese porcelain of "old Japan" (Edo era) in the Dresden collection, along with an example of the "square" mark in red on "a bowl of imitation Old Japan" porcelain. This seems to contradict your sources, but I'm also am open to the views of others.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Japanese BW Covered Bowl in Hirado Style
Posted By: TD Sun, Jul 30, 2017

I also read from some now forgotten sources that the "Fuki Choshun" mark was used in the 18th century, perhaps even in the late 17th century if the marks are found in the Dresden collection, and then again in the mid to late 19th century.
I have a couple of Japanese Arita plates with this mark in a diamond shape and decoration painted in the Imari palette. I believe these plates date from the Meiji period. I wonder how widespread this mark was used by the many kilns in the Kyushu region?
Bill, on a somewhat related topic, check out the talk given by Shinya Maezaki on Japanese ceramics between 1650-1750 and 1858-1912 in "San Francisco Between 1858 and 1912: Gate of Japanese Ceramics to the United States." There is a transcript to accompany the video.

Subject:Re: Japanese BW Covered Bowl in Hirado Style
Posted By: Bokaba Sun, Jul 30, 2017

Hi Bill,

It is certainly possible that your piece is from the Edo Period, but when during the Edo Period would be the question. The information seems to be all over the place regarding the mark. Gotheborg shows Fuki Choshun marks in a diagonal orientation from the late 18th/early 19th Century and later. I found asquare Edo Period Fuki Choshun mark in Schiffer's Shape and Decoration of Japanese Export Ceramics. Sadly, most catalogs and books don't show the bottoms.

I wonder how much of the Dresden collection remains today as most of the city and its baroque/rococo architecture was leveled during WWII.

Subject:Re: Japanese BW Covered Bowl in Hirado Style
Posted By: Bokaba Sun, Sep 17, 2017

Hi Bill,

I got the Hirado: Prince of Porcelain book recently and thought this image of some boys playing bowls might help you. The back row is dated 18th Century, and the front row, 19th Century based on the gloss of the glaze (they say 19th C glaze used in Hirado was much shinier than 18th Century).

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