Subject:Re: Japanese Hirado Porcelain Plate, Signed Boys Chasing Butterflies under pine trees
Posted By: Bill H Mon, Mar 20, 2017
I believe those characters on your plate may be (福島), which can be transliterated as "Fukushima", site of the nuclear reactor disaster, among other possibilities. Your plate may not be Hirado ware (平戸), which was made at Mikawachi, where a much whiter porcelain was made than yours seems to be. Several pieces of this highly popular pattern featuring "Boys Chasing Butterflies" are illustrated in "Hirado Prince of Porcelains" by Louis Lawrence, all hand-painted as far as I can tell, whereas your plate looks to be transfer decorated. The Fukagawa Company gained supremacy over the Mikawachi kilns during the late 19th century and seems to have owned the Hirado line after 1868, when the Meiji reign began.
Here's a blue & white abalone-shaped bowl I picked up from the estate of an American who worked with the occupation forces in Japan in the late 1940's and early 1950's and who owned more than a few remarkable Japanese antiques. This bowl, which has a small kiln crack, is hand-painted in Hirado hues on what appears to be Mikawachi porcelain, with an impressed mark that begins with the same chararacter as Hirado's name, though I've never verified the rest of the hard-to-see seal characters. I suspect the piece probably is no older than the early 20th century. The painting seems to me to be good enough to be Hirado, and the cavetto has a center glaze swirl that I've seen associated with those wares by Sandra Andach, if memory serves. The last photo, for comparison with the blue & white, is of a cup in the "Boys Playing" motif, which strikes me a possibly a Fukugawa product of the Meiji era, though it has a "Fuku" mark and not the usual company Fuji mark.