Masaki Art Museum in Tadaoka-cho, Senboku-gun, Osaka holds a wide range of tea ceremony utensils, Buddhist art works and archeological materials, mainly in medieval ink paintings and calligraphy. This is the 23rd Exhibition at the atrium on the 25th floor of the Park Hotel Tokyo. This time we will present works on the theme of artworks decorated with floral patterns from our collection. Plant flowers are not only loved for the beauty of the form, but have also sometimes been incorporated into artworks tied to specific images representing good luck. We hope you enjoy these designs that have been loved in Japan through the beauty of flowers that adorn the works, and their symbolic meanings.
[Date] September 11, (Fri.) ～ December 12, 2020 (Thu.)
[Place] Atrium, Park Hotel Tokyo (25F)
[Fare] Free of Charge
[About the Masterpieces]
1 Vase with Black Sgraffito Design of Peony, White Slip China, Northern Song Dynasty
This vase was produced by turning slightly gray clay on a potter’s wheel. A white coating was applied to all the sides followed by a blackish iron glaze, and patterns were then drawn by lines. Two lines were drawn on the circumference of the vase dividing the side into three parts. On the upper and middle parts, peony flower motifs were scattered in a geometric pattern, and on the lower part, clouds were drawn. In China, the peony was from ancient times called the King of Flowers, and was adored as a symbol of wealth. It was said that it was transmitted to Japan during the Nara era, and became widely used in conjunction with motifs such as butterflies, birds and arabesque.
The technique of black sgraffito was used actively from the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, in which Work No. 2 was also produced.
2 Pillow with White Sgraffito Design of Peony, White Slip China, Hebei Province, Ci Zhou Yao kiln, Northern Song Dynasty
This is a porcelain pillow made of grayish clay, and finished using a scraping technique. White clay was laid thickly on a molded base, a line pattern was carved on the base, the clay on the white part was scraped off, and finally transparent glaze was applied. It is light when you hold it because the interior is hollow. A round window is formed on the top surface, divided into upper and lower parts by a connecting pattern, and chrysanthemums and peony are drawn on each part.
The Ci Zhou Yao kiln in Hebei Province existed from the late Wudai era of China to modern times. Works made by white scraping like this one first appeared in the Northern Song Dynasty. Subsequently, works with black sgraffito like Work No.1 appeared, and various works representative of the Ci Zhou Yao kiln were produced.
3 Dish, Imari Ware Edo period
Imari refers to Imari Pottery made mainly at the end of the 18th century, broadly divided into colored works such as gold-painted porcelain and the like painted with colors, and works which are dyed like this one.
Forming a circle in the center of the dish, several colored chrysanthemums are stained with cobalt blue paint, and partially colored with cinnabar (glaze which turns a deep red color upon firing). Chrysanthemum petals are engraved radially around the center, and there are streak-like, swollen contour lines. In Japan, September 9 was the chrysanthemum festival, and it assumed an image of longevity from the practice of organizing a feast while watching chrysanthemums and drinking chrysanthemum wine in the courtyard.
4 Egorai Tea Bowl with Design of Plum Blossoms China, Yuan dynasty
In Japan, this work is called “Egorai Tea Bowl” (a bowl fired in the Korean Peninsula), but in fact it was made at the Ci Zhou Yao kiln in Hebei Province, China. It is said that it was transmitted to Japan around the 16th century, and was known affectionately as Egorai by tea masters of the time, which was thought to have great value.
This work has a pattern on the side that can be thought of as seven stars (the sun and moon, and five stars referring to wood, fire, earth, gold and water), but in Japan, this was likened to a plum flower. Since plum flowers bloom early in the severe cold, bringing forth much fruit, plum blossoms were revered as a representative of the force of life, perseverance, and prosperity of descendants.