Archive item - not for sale
Japanese Kakiemon-style blue and white dish, c.1680, of scalloped form with brown glazed rim, decorated in underglaze cobalt blue with a narrative scene of two scholars standing upon a wooden viewing platform beside a waterfall issuing from a rocky outcrop, branches of blossoming prunus beside them, the reverse with scrolling karakusa design to the rim, central cursive ‘fuku’ mark and spur marks
In Japanese culture of the Edo period, water was regarded as a purifying force closely connected to spiritual energy. Shintoism, Japan’s indigenous nature-oriented religion, refers to ‘kami’ (deities), spiritual forces found within strong natural elements such as mountains, waves and waterfalls. The dynamism and power captured in this design clearly emphasises the waterfall’s ability to inspire awe and wonder in the viewers on the platform. Perhaps most famously, waterfall-viewing was the topic of Hosukai’s ukiyo-e series ‘A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces’ (shōkoku taki meguri), which was completed around 1834 and illustrates similar encounters between humans and the raw animistic power of the sacred waterfall.