Plate with Japanese court woman and birds
Hard-paste porcelain painted with colored enamels over transparent glaze (Hizen ware; Imari type)
Diam. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm.)
The Hans Syz Collection, Gift of Stephan B. Syz and John D. Syz, 1995
The design of an elegant court woman in a garden is one of the few export motifs that is uniquely Japanese. This design was inspired by the fifth chapter of the famed Tale of Genji, in which the young protagonist peeks at a lady as she is releasing a bird from a cage. Written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu (ca. 973–1014), this novel recounts the life, tumultuous loves, and caddish behavior of Prince Genji.
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