Tomoda Kyukei, a pair of brocade plates with a pair of phenix

This pair of flower-shaped small plates, which might be the handle of fusuma (something like a door in a Japanese-style room), have a phoenix drawn in brocade on the front edge, and a paulownia flower pattern is painted in gold. On the back, the pattern that seems to be an auspicious cloud is drawn thick and firmly in red and gold.

size: diameter about 9.8 cm, height about 1.6 cm

The phoenix pattern is drawn in brocade, and the lines are finely expressed by the creator‘s technique to apply a thin layer of gold. The paulownia pattern was used as an auspicious pattern for a long time, and even after the Meiji period, it was treated as a government emblem according to the Japanese national emblem, and it was distinguished from the paulownia pattern used by the general public, but since the pattern was used indiscriminately on the work, it might been made for a high-ranking person.

On the back, a scene of floating auspicious clouds is drawn in red and gold. Looking at the shape of the plate, it is shaped like a flower with a notch, and molded as thin as it goes to the edge not to stick out from the surface of the fusuma. So, it is thought that it was molded by a highly skilled potter, and even if it’s a small work, since the creator’s back name is written, it is believed that this work was highly evaluated.

The back name is written as “大日本Dainippon / produced by 九径堂Kyukei-do / 九谷kutani”.

creator of the work

Tomoda Kyukei  友田九径 born in 1862 and died in 1918

Tomoda learned Japanese-style painting and porcelain painting from famous Japanese-style painters and porcelain painters at the time, and started his porcelain painting business in 1881. He was enrolled in Fujioka Iwahana-do kiln (藤岡岩花堂) with the painters as Sasada Yuzan (笹田友山), Shimizu Seikan (清水清閑), etc., and it is said that he accumulated his skills at the kiln, so, he created splendid masterpieces of Kanazawa-kutani.

Tomoda’s achievements were to utilize his knowledge and experience to develop paints suitable for kutani body after learning from Godfried Wagner about how to formulate paints and how to make the body that went well with paints. He succeeded in improving many Western paints since around 1891, so, the cheap and high-quality paints were developed for kutani, and added a variety of gorgeousness to Meiji kutani. The paints did not cause peeling off from the body, so his developed paints became widespread among porcelain painters and contributed greatly to creating high-quality Meiji kutani..