Stoneware with underglaze iron oxide decoration (Hizen ware, Karatsu type)
Diam. 12 5/8 in. (32 cm)
Mary Griggs Burke Collection, Gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015
Not on view
Karatsu mono, or Karatsu wares, were objects of everyday use in western Japan, much as Sero mono were the utilitarian ceramics of eastern Japan. Karatsu pottery was produced in the region known as Hizen (Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures), in northern Kyūshū, an area that produced Sueki (cat. no. 4) between the sixth and the tenth century. The term "Karatsu," in its broadest definition, refers to all pottery shipped from the port city of that name, that is, the many wares produced at the Hizen kilns, including Agano, Takatori, Shōdai, and Yatsushiro. Karatsu thus incorporates a variety of styles. What they have in common is the unmistakable influence of Korean ceramics.
This influence is usually traced to the late 1590s, following Hideyoshi's invasions of the Korean Peninsula in 1592 and 1593, when Korean potters were forcibly relocated to the Karatsu region. However, earlier wares from the area-made during the 1570s and 1580s—also reflect strong Korean influence. Considering the proximity of Karatsu to the southern tip of Korea, it is reasonable to assume that Korean artisans had settled in the region and practiced their craft in the closing years of the Muromachi period—even before Hideyoshi's raids—thus marking the inception of glazed-pottery manufacture in the area.
The simple, unpretentious beauty of everyday wares produced at the Karatsu kilns attracted tea masters such as Furuta Oribe (1544–1615). The first reference to the use of Karatsu ware for chanoyu was in connection with a tea gathering held at Oribe 's house in 1603, and his influence is vividly demonstrated by the deliberately misshapen teabowls and the asymmetrical designs on many of the painted wares produced at the Karatsu kilns. Karatsu craftsmen, however, used simpler glazing techniques than did the potters who made Oribe wares at the Mino kilns (cat. no. 104). The popularity of Karatsu ceramics declined after 1616, when another group of Korean potters, led by Ri Sanpei (1579–1655), began production of porcelain wares (cat. nos. 128, 129).
This platter, like all Karatsu wares, was thrown on a potter's wheel. It retains the marks made as the wheel rotated around the small, low foot. The broad, raised rim serves as a frame for the simple but charming drawing of a pine tree with six branches, brushed onto the plate with iron oxide. Except for the area around the foot, the platter is covered with a light grayish brown glaze, a mixture of feldspar and ash.
A slightly larger platter, in the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, bears a pine-tree design that is nearly identical to this one. A number of shards that hint at objects with identical shapes and similar designs were excavated at the site of the Kameya no Tani kiln, to which both the Burke and the Idemitsu platters are attributed.
[Miyeko Murase 2000, Bridge of Dreams]
 Becker 1974.  Matsuya kaiki (Records of Three Generations of Lacquerers and Tea Masters), compiled by Matsuya Genzaburō and edited by Matsuya Hisashige (1566–1652). See Sadō koten zenshū 1967, vol. 9, entry for the twelfth clay, tenth month, eighth year of the Keichō era (1603).  Kawahara Masahiko 1977, fig. 1.  Ibid., figs. 123, 124.
Inscription: Box dated 1822, Nakamura family, and calls it "Bowl for Fish."
Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)
Tokyo National Museum. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," May 21, 1985–June 30, 1985.
Nagoya City Art Museum. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," August 17, 1985–September 23, 1985.
Atami. MOA Museum of Art. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," September 29, 1985–October 27, 1985.
Hamamatsu City Museum of Art. "Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: nyūyōku bāku korekushon," November 12, 1985–December 1, 1985.
New York. Asia Society. "Art of Japan: Selections from the Burke Collection, pts. I and II," October 2, 1986–February 22, 1987.
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. "Die Kunst des Alten Japan: Meisterwerke aus der Mary and Jackson Burke Collection," September 16, 1990–November 18, 1990.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Japanese Art from The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," March 30, 2000–June 25, 2000.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Post-renovation opening exhibition: Japanese galleries," April 11, 2006–January 17, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," October 20, 2015–January 22, 2017.
Tokyo National Museum. Nihon bijutsu meihin ten: New York Burke Collection / A Selection of Japanese Art from the Mary and Jackson Burke Collection. Exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, 1985, cat. no. 101.
Avitabile, Gunhild, ed. Die Kunst des alten Japan: Meisterwerke aus der Mary and Jackson Burke Collection, New York. Exh. cat. Frankfurt: Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 1990, cat. no. 142.
Murase, Miyeko. Bridge of Dreams: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection of Japanese Art. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000, cat. no. 105.