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Square Serving Dish
Japan, Gifu Prefecture; Momoyama period (1573-1615), late 16th century
Stoneware painted with underglaze iron brown (Mino ware, Shino type)
H. 3 in. (7.6 cm); L. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm); W. 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Whimsical patterns of half-wheels, grass, bamboo, and spiraling motifs adorn the surface of this square dish with rounded, scalloped edges. The iron pigment of the design normally turns deep brown but here appears light blue-gray under the thick, milky feldspar glaze -- one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Shino-type ceramics. Serving dishes like this were frequently used as part of a formal meal, or kaiseki, during a Japanese tea ceremony. Shino-style ceramics were manufactured in generous quantities during the early 17th century at technologically advanced kilns in the Mino region in west-central Japan, near Kyoto.
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