Copyright/attribution: ©Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives

Copyright/attribution: ©Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives

Copyright/attribution: ©Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives

Copyright/attribution: ©Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives

dish

Dish of porcelain, with a foliate rim of eight lobes. Decorated in underglaze blue with design of a seated kirin among rocks and grasses, with a border decorated in an 'octopus scroll' pattern.

Kirin are mythical creatures said to have the head of a dragon, the body of a deer, the legs of a horse, and the tail of a lion. It is said to personify gentleness and goodness and is a lucky omen that appears in our world at times of good governance.

The scroll pattern, called 'tako karakusa' (蛸唐草) in Japanese translates to 'octopus Chinese grass' and is named after its resemblance the suckers on an octopus tentacle.

On the base is a six-character mark which reads 'Daimin seika nensei' (太明成化年製) 'Greatest Ming dynasty Chenghua make'. This is an imitation of Chinese marks of the Ming period. They appear on wares made at the Arita kilns during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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