Nakano Chuji, red and gold plate with Seven Lucky Gods and flowers and birds

The Seven Lucky Gods, the flowers and birds, and the landscape are settled in some panels composition that was invented by Kutani Shoza (九谷庄三) at the end of the Edo period, and on the back, “the four gentlemen” (4 plants of plum, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum) is drawn. These designs are drawn in the Shoza style, and partially with brocade, but the main body is colored with various neutral colors created from Western paints that were introduced from early on. It looks like brocade style.

size: Width approx. 23.4 cm Height approx. 4.2 cm

In the central panel, the Seven Lucky Gods are brilliantly colored in red, ash, and gold and silver. The central panel is sandwiched between other panels to decorate the Seven Lucky Gods. In the left panel, a flowers and birds that looks like a sketch is drawn, and in the right panel, a landscape scene that looks like an ink painting is drawn.

In particular, the flowers and birds and landscape are colored in neutral colors such as red, pink, ash, brown, skin color and light blue, and are decorated with gold and silver. In this way, flowers and birds, landscape are drawn in colors close to nature.

What is surprising about this work is that the four gentlemen figure, which are usually drawn on the front, are all over the back. This figure was often used as a motif for crafts, but the fact that it covers the back is another highlight of this work.

The four types of plants, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum, and plum, are carefully painted in a well-balanced neutral color, highlighting the elegant beauty of each plant. While expressing well the beauty of nature, the painting is extremely precise and the whole is beautifully finished.

The back name is written as “大日本Dainippon / 九谷kutani / 中野画painted by Nakano”, and the engraved “九谷kutani” is stamped near the back name. Most of the Meiji kutani which the original country “日本Japan” is written with the back name, were an exported kutani, so it is possible that this work was created for export.

creator of the work

Nakano Chuji  中野忠次  both years of birth and death are unknown

The history about Tadashi Nakano is unclear, but what is clear is that together with the first Takekoshi Zenbei (武腰善平), Nakagawa Jisaku (中川二作), Kasama Shuseki (笠間秀石), Nakano supported the factory run by Kutani Shoza, later, they became master craftsmen.

From the style of this work, it is believed that Nakano Chuji received an educational training from Kutani Shoza (九谷庄三), and he refrained from gold color of the Shoza style, expressed the beauty of nature, and finished precisely it.