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An Exceedingly Striking, Fine and Early Ai-Kakiemon non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain dish depicting Cranes and Bamboo

Nangawara kiln (Old Kakiemon kiln site)

early Edo period, Kanbun era (1660-1673)

circa 1660-1670


Kusunokidani or Old Kakiemon B kiln, Arita, Hizen province, Japan
early Edo period, Kanbun era (1661-1673)

circa 1660-1670

Measuring 21.3cm (8.38 inches) in diameter


underglaze cobalt blue character mark within a double square to the base


A simply superb example representing the transition between the Ai-Kutani style and the Ai-Kakiemon style manufactured in either the Kusunokidani kiln or Old Kakiemon B kiln in Shimo-Nangawarayama in the Kanbun period. According to Koji Ohashi "among all the inscriptions used by the Old Kakiemon kiln, this [particular character mark] represents the very characteristic of the Old Kakiemon's work." (Seki p.102)


Recent research has suggested that Kakiemon I (1586-1666) worked at the Kusunokidani kiln before moving to Nangawara to establish his own kiln (Old Kakiemon B kiln) in the 1660s. It is suggested that this mark is the character mark used by Kakiemon I first at Kusunokidani kiln and then in Nangawara.


The interior is very asymmetrically and naturalistically painted in sharp, stunningly vivid strokes of cobalt blue - an exceptionally fine example of the Ai-Kakiemon style. The very early non-biscuit (namagake) porcelain of circular form with gently flared rim is covered with a very pale bluish-grey glaze, the interior superbly and sharply painted with the a pair of cranes among bamboo shoots. The reverse is finely encircled with a very neatly drawn scrolling karakusa, and a cobalt blue kaku-fuku seal mark within a double square to the base. The underside set with three spur marks, and the edge of the footrim burnt orange.



21.3cm (8.38 inches) in diameter


Condition report:

In superb original condition. Three spur-marks (kiln support marks) to the base. Chatter marks to the reverse.

A splendid 17th C Japanese Ai Kakiemon cranes dish, Nangawara kiln Arita, c1665

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