On this delicate small bowl the mark is 大日本半介製 (Dai Nihon HanSuke sei). This is believed to be the mark of Kawamoto Hansuke (V or VI). The family had a porcelain workshop in Seto, Aichi near Nagoya that produced, among other things, shippo porcelain bodies.
NB Kawamoto Masukichi is another name used by one or more of the family.
Of course the porcelain bodies might come from Hansuke but the cloisonne might be by a third party more expert in that area of work, of whom one of the best known is Nagoya’s Takeuchi Chubei (竹内忠兵).
The bowl is decorated inside with a simple pattern in blue.
The outside decoration is made up of individual components that are simple and in many cases familiar from other objects seen earlier. There are two small shapes that are rather different to those seen on most earlier Japanese objects. The first ‘boat’ or ‘heart’ shape seen below in pink (ref 51.9), and the ‘cloud’ shape at the rim in red (ref 51.10). They are mentioned here as they will appear later in making links to other objects.
Note that the ‘strength spiral’ wiring seems to be applied a little randomly. This may be an indication that this is an early piece where its use was a reaction to breakage and had not yet been systemised.
The ‘oval square’ pattern towards the base (ref 51.11) is an interesting one, as it often seems to appear in some form on ceramic cloisonne. Each part of the line is made up of four white oval shapes, covering a dark blue background. The effect is a little hidden here because the pattern is towards the base, but it still contributes to the attractions of the object.
Object 51: Bowl height 4.5 cm weight 86 gm.
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