Kameda Sangetsu, red and gold small plates with flowers and birds

Kameda Sangetsu (亀田山月) created large works such as gorgeous bowls or vases, while he carefully painted each small plate. These works are a set of ten plates used with gorgeous bowl or big plate at celebration.

size; diameter about 12 cm, height about 2.1 cm

Four small panels were cut out on each plate, and in the panels, Japanese-style paintings such as a person with a companion, a pine tree, trees with red flowers, and a distant mountain were finely painted, and in addition, the outside of the panel is filled with red like “Dokai’s red vermilion” (Dokai is the name of Saida Isaburou’s posterity).

The molding of this small plate has a slightly raised edge and is somewhat deeper. These small plates are called “namasu sara” and were used as plates for side dishes such as “namasu” (raw fish and vegetables seasoned with vinegar). It is reminiscent of the remnants of the plates that were lined up with the big bowl at banquets during the Edo period, and it is said that they were available in a set of ten or twenty at rich merchant’s house and Japanese luxury restaurants.

The back names are written as “九谷/亀田画kutani / painted by Kameda”. Others are “Dainippon / Kutani / Sangetsu-do” (大日本/九谷/山月堂), “Kutani / Sangetsu” (九谷/山月), “Kutani / made by Sangetsu” (九谷/山月造), etc.

Creator of work

Yamatsuki Kameda  亀田山月  born in 1844, dead in 1916.

In 1854, when Kameda was 11 years old, he became a student of the painting factory managed by Saita Isaburo and trained mainly in the technique of red painting, and then was independent in 1862 and started the porcelain painting business. His store name was called as Sangetsu (山月).

Even after becoming independent, it is said that he continued to study as a painter under Saita, and from around 1875 (Saita was dead in 1867), as the leader of the the factory, he held “15th Day meeting of Sano Painters” with the first Hashida Yosaburo and others. On the 15th of every month, he held a commentary meeting regarding the works made by group members, and leaded the younger painter to improve their skills. At the same time, he put a lot of effort into researching the development of Dokai’s vermilion.

In 1888, when he was 44 years old, he established another painting style by making the most of the painting style which he learned from Arakawa Tanrei. A new painting style seems to appear in his work “red and gold bowl with person under pine tree” (refer next work). So, it is said that he specialized in fine drawing using vermilion and brocade.

His disciples included Kameda Somatsu, Tamagawa Seiemon, Tomita Taromatsu, Kameda Gonjiro, etc.