Nabeshima ware dish with maple leaves

From Japan
Edo period, 18th-19th century AD

Maple leaves over a rushing stream

Nabeshima ware was made at Okawachi near Arita in Kyūshū under the authority of the Nabeshima clan. The feudal lords of Nabeshima were so proud of their technological skill, that throughout the Edo period (1600-1868) they gave porcelain (and swords) as presents to the lords of other provinces. Very few pieces of this type were exported abroad.

The designs combine pattern and empty space in pure Japanese style and often resemble the bold and sophisticated textile designs of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Nabeshima kilns produced underglaze blue and white wares, celadons, enamels and combination pieces. The commonest shapes were food dishes usually produced in sets of five, which took over from the earlier wooden lacquered food bowls with the high foot. The Nabeshima foot is usually decorated with a repeating 'comb tooth' pattern, and the underside of the rim too has scrolling or intertwining motifs. The designs themselves are arrestingly beautiful.

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More information


L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


Diameter: 20.500 cm

Museum number

Asia JA F1283+


Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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