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19th C. Japanese Transferware Plate – “Pigeon, Butterfly and Basket”

19th C. Japanese Transferware Plate – “Pigeon, Butterfly and Basket”


Meiji period (1868-1912) transferware plate.


Dimensions: Approximately 11½” diameter.



The plate has an overall design with an open-weave basket as a background. The large undecorated area appears to be a framed mirror, in front of which are peonies and chrysanthemums in a vase. To the left of the mirror is a pigeon and a butterfly.


A similar pattern is described and illustrated by Alistair Seton in his book “Igezara Printed China” at p. 142 as “Pigeon, Butterfly and Basket”.


The reverse of the rim is decorated with 3 sets of flowers and arabesques.


The foot is encircled by 3 blue bands.


The piece is heavily potted, as is the case with Igezara wares.


Unlike fine hand painted porcelain, like Imari and Kutani, these pieces are transferware. They were produced by transferring designs initially created on copper plates, similar to transferware that was produced in Staffordshire England at the beginning of the 19th century.


Like English transferware, these wares came into being at a time of industrialization, when a broad portion of the population desired attractive ceramics the design of which was influenced by more expensive porcelain.


Most such wares are blue and white, although some have polychrome elements. Often the reverse of the rim bears decorative patterns.


The designs vary widely. Most include traditional Japanese elements like flowers, trees, or birds. Many incorporate geometric patterns.


These pieces typically have a brown edge around a rim that has “pie crust” ridges molded into it.


These elements give the transferware its name “Igezara”, which comes from two Japanese words: "Ige" meaning "notch or thorn", referring to the pie-like indentations found around the rim, and "Zara" or "sara" meaning "plate".


On some pieces, such as this one, the border is plain and undecorated. While not technically Igezara because of the absence of the brown pie crust rim, they are decorated using the same transfer techniques and often the same patterns.


This piece has neither the brown edge nor the “pie crust” rim, but otherwise exhibits all the features of Igezara.



Seton, “Igezara, Printed China”.

Watanabe, “Igezara Museum”.


Condition: A minor glaze pop, otherwise in excellent condition consistent with age and usage. Please examine the photos; they are part of the description.

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