Ai-Kutani plate



Porcelain in Kutani ware with geometric design
Japan, Edo period (1603-1868), ca. 17th century
H. 1 ¼ in (3.2m) – Ø. 8.6 in (22cm)

Ai-Kutani is one of the types of Kutani ware which was produced in Arita, Kyushu Island. As its name “ai” (literally “indigo”) indicates, the deep blue colour is a distinctive characteristic of Ai-Kutani. A design of two connected circles is called musubi-maru-mon, and is finely rendered with deep blue indigo. On the one circle, the geometric design of one continuous line was painted with careful meticulousness. On the other circle, there is a plum branch which was painted with a free and dynamic touch. The contrast of two different elements, and between geometry and nature, makes a beautiful landscape within the small space of the circles. On the reverse of the plate, the arabesque design was finely painted. A sign of kakufuku, the fully cursive style of writing the Chinese character “福”, which appears in the square, is considered an indication that the piece was made by a skilful artisan. It would also prove that the piece was produced during the beginning Edo period.