The inside of this lovely bowl is decorated in "Imari red" (a distinctive bright orange-red and one of the first colours used on Imari porcelain after blue), gold, and opaque turquoise. There are three medallions with flowers and the centre appears to be a stylized flower. The perimeter includes three panels with a lozenge diaper pattern with thin red lines and gold "x's".
The outside of this lovely example of Meiji (1868-1912) porcelain is sometsuke underglaze cobalt blue with what appears to be a half tortoise-shell diaper pattern above a ju-i scepter design. A dark blue leaf pattern surrounds the foot rim.
This dish is marked "seika nensei" ("Ch'eng-hua nian zhi" in Chinese) in underglaze blue which means "Made in the Ch'eng-hua reign." This mark is seen both on Chinese and Japanese porcelain and is the Chinese mark of the Ming ruler Ch'eng-hua (1465-1487 AD). However, this mark was used on porcelain hundreds of years after the dynasty possibly to honour that period. In this case, the item is Japanese and the rust spot on the inside suggests the bowl is over 100 years old, possibly pre 1882 as the mark is mentioned in J. L. Bowes's book "Japanese Marks and Seals" written in that year.
Condition: The bowl is in very good condition with no repair, chips or cracks evident. There is some loss of gilt from the top rim and from the outside of the medallions (see photo) on the interior. As mentioned a few tiny rust spots on the interior suggest the bowl is over 100 years old (that is how long it takes for these rust spots to appear out of the iron impurities in the clay). There are a few places where glaze contraction has occurred (this is also a sign of age/older kilns). There are a few small places of missed glaze inside the bottom foot rim.
This is a beautiful piece for either careful use or display.
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