Important Cultural PropertySquare plate with picture of a man looking at a seagull in the rusty-painting style

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  • By Ogata Kōrin and Shinsei
  • 1 piece
  • H2.9 D22.2
  • Edo period/18th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • G-32

Shinsei, younger brother of Ogata Korin, opened a kiln in Narutaki near Kyoto in 1699 and working as a potter. Since he adopted the pseudonym of Kenzan after the direction of this kiln that was located to the northwest (inui) of Kyoto and inscribed it on his works, his pottery was called Kenzan-yaki.
Among Kenzan-yaki pottery, there are some that were jointly created with his brother Korin, who drew preliminary sketches. Due to the high quality of the drawings by Korin, these collaborative items were well received. In recent years, it has become clear that these items were fired during the period from 1709 to 1716.
This is one of their collaborative items: Korin drew a preliminary sketch of Kosangokukano, a poet in the Sung period, with iron oxide paint inside the raku (a light weight ceramic ware developed in Kyoto) square plate painted in white. On the back of the plate is an underglaze inscription written by Kenzan (大日本国陶者雍州乾山陶隠深省製于所■(居)尚古■(斎)). A cloud arabesque pattern is applied to the outside of the standing rim whereas a framed peony motif and a cloud arabesque pattern are drawn inside the rim. There is a signature (monogram) that says "Jakumyo Korin" on the drawing, from which it is estimated that this plate was created during the period from 1709 to 1712.
While 20 collaborative inscribed square plates currently exist, this one is particularly famous as one of their best, not only for Korin's light and easy brushwork, but also for Kenzan's grand, high quality inscription writing. This was purchased by the Tokyo National Museum in 1878 and designated as an important cultural property in 1984.