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Subject:Japanese Arita Plate with Chenghua Mark
Posted By: bokaba Sun, Mar 12, 2017 IP: 2605:e000:af16:3b00:

I was wondering if Bill or anyone could comment on this Japanese Arita plate I found at a moving sale. It is about 10 inches across. It is marked for the Chenghua (15th C.) period, but is more likely Edo Period and Japanese 18th/19th Century. Marked 太明成化年製 with incorrectly written "Da" character changing meaning from great to greatest.

Subject:Re: Japanese Arita Plate with Chenghua Mark
Posted By: Bill H Mon, Mar 13, 2017

I haven't collected or handled a lot of these "igezara" (notched rim) wares, but those I have seen up close and personal could be called the Japanese transfer-decorated version of the Chinese common man's "Kitchen Qing".

All of these Japanese dishes I've encountered appeared to be datable to the Meij-Taisho period, which is consistent with Tony Allen's "circa 1900" period, stated in a past forum thread. Some of them had impressed marks of the Yamatoku kiln.

The late 19th century book of Japanese marks by James Lord Bowes, shows examples of this "Greatest" variation of the six-character Ming Chenghua mark, which the author describes as Edo-period, saying it was "Another forgery of the Chinese mark of the 'Tch'ing-hoa' period. Painted in blue upon a plate of 'Old Japan' of fair age." This is telling, in that Lord Bowes doesn't indicate it to be igezara or transfer-decorated, but does call it "Painted", which seems to be the case with your dish.

The forum also has previously discussed an igezara dish with an impressed fragrant orchid mark of the Fukagawa-related Koransha company, which was founded in 1875. There seems to be a spot to the lower left of your Chenghua mark, which area has darker lines that might be construed as representing parts of the Koransha mark. If that is the case, then it would seem to settle the question. If it isn't the Koransha or another kiln mark, then I can only guess that you may indeed have an Edo period prototype for some of the Meiji and later period Igezara transfer-decorated pieces. If not that, then possibly a Meiji or later example of such a dish but painted for the upper-crust market.

The link URL below is for a Japanese museum devoted to traditional igezara transfer wares, such as the one in the below image that is similar to your motif. That museum has 15 examples of Koransha-made igezara dishes, none of which appear to be hand-painted (while "igezara" refers only to the upper rim, "transfer" appears to be linked indelibly to the description at this point in time). If you want other info from past forum discussions, just query "igezara" using the search feature.

Good luck,

Bill H

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