Porcelain, Imari ware with moon and rabbit design
Japan, Edo period (1603-1868), ca. 1610’s – 1630’s
H. 1.4 in (3.5cm) – Ø. 7.9 in (20.1cm)
Porcelain Imari ware production started in the 1610s in Saga prefecture, Kyushu Island. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea between 1592 and 1598, the lord of the Saga clan joined in this battle. When the Japanese soldiers withdrew from Korea, the lord of the Saga clan took some Korean ceramic artisans to Japan. It is commonly accepted that these captives were the first to make Imari ware. The early period of production of this ware from the 1610s to the 1630s is specifically called Ko-Imari or Shoki-Imari. There are many types of examples of Ko-Imari plates, and the design of the moon and the rabbit which looks back is quite popular, but it is rarely seen on a ko-Imari plate. The oral spray painting technique is used to render the paintings effectively, making it seem as if the moon and the rabbit are rising in the darkness of the night. The hind legs of the rabbit are depicted powerfully, imparting the feeling of the throbbing pulse of a wild animal.
A similar plate is published in the book of “Nihon no tōji”, the eighth volume Ko-Imari, number 59 on page 71.