Dish with cherry blossom design, Edo period (1615–1868), 18th century
Porcelain with celadon and iron glazes and underglaze blue decoration (Hizen ware, Nabeshima type); H. 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm), Diam. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.555)
The design on this dish is painted in the classic tricolor palette of polychrome Nabeshima ware: cobalt blue, light green celadon, and a rust-red iron glaze. This almost abstract image shows a spray of cherry blossoms, a flower closely associated with Japan, against the backdrop of a multicolored curtain. Nabeshima ware was a specialty product reserved for the military rulers and nobles of Japan, so it was expected to be distinct from the porcelain sold to the general public, as well as more sophisticated. Therefore, the production of this type of porcelain was carried out at a separate kiln from those making commercial porcelain, in order to keep the techniques and designs secret.