Dish in the shape of Mount Fuji with a design of horses and deer, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), ca. 1620–30
Porcelain with underglaze blue over white slip (Jingdezhen ware); H. 2 1/16 in. (5.3 cm), W. 9 7/8 in. (25.1 cm), L. 11 1/4 in. (28.5 cm)
Purchase, Barbara and William Karatz Gift, Gift of C. T. Loo and Company, by exchange and Rogers Fund, by exchange, 2010 (2010.206)
This dish was made in China during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), but was comissioned by a Japanese tea practitioner for use in the tea ceremony. It would have probably been used to serve a light meal that preceded the tea, known as the kaiseki. The shape of the dish is characteristically Japanese, imitating the iconic figure of Mount Fuji. The painting, however, is more Chinese in style, with deer and horses gamboling through a rugged landscape. The poem at the top echoes the painting; it reads, "Living among trees and rocks, roaming with deer and horses." The style of the plate is known as ko-sometsuke, or "old blue-and-white." The technique involves painting on the smooth white porcelain surface in cobalt and then coating the piece with a transparent glaze. The chipped edges on the dish resulted when it was shrunken during firing, but followers of the tea ceremony considered such imperfections desirable.