Miwa Turumatsu, a set of red and gold plates with Hotei and Chinese children

explanation of the work

Imagining that a set of ten medium plates are put in an original box with “assortment for Tanabata festival / grilled fish plate”, it is believed that these plates were used for a banquet associated with “tanabata no sechie” (*), and that a total of thirty pieces were created. Perhaps the banquet with thirty plates lined up would be spectacular.

size: diameter about 23.3 cm, height about 3.6 cm

*tanabata sechie; banquet held with the ceremony or tanabata festival for children on July 7 every year

The design is a scene that “Hotei god and karako” are enjoying Go. Since ancient times, Go was regarded as one of the “four arts” (koto, go, calligraphy, and painting handled by hands),” or there were Japanese paintings that the three gods of Hotei, Daikoku and Ebisu were enjoying Go. It seems that the creator came up with this design after considering the purpose of these plates.

In addition, these ten plates have elaborate paintings unique to master craftsman, and what to take a closer look at the design is the appearance of Hotei and karako, props, number of Go stones on each board, and the each state where the go stones are placed. Even if the creators are master craftsmen, ten plates have not all the same design but have “small changes” between each.

Considering about the sizes of the plates, it seems that a medium plate was sometimes treated as a large plate at that time. Since each is solid and heavy, when the grilled fish as staple food (which might be the sea bream that accompanies a banquet in Japan) was served on this plate, it would be a plate comparable to a large plate. Probably, the purchaser of these plates bought such a slightly larger plate, which were congratulatory and pictured, in order to serve the staple food on this plate and entertain the people at the banquet.

The back name is written as “made in kutani / painted by Miwa”, and as “a set associated with “Tanabata no Sechi / a part of 30 pieces” on the original box.

creator of the work

Miwa Tsurumatsu    三輪 鶴松

born in 1864 and died in 1911

Miwa Tsurumatsu studied under the first Hashida Yozaburo, and acquired the technique of aka-e fine drawing. In addition, Miwa incorporated the patterns of snow ring and fine calligraphy into his paintings. If some sake-cup or teacup would have a Chinese poem on the inside and a snow ring on the outside, it was said to be the work by Miwa, as he often adopted the snow ring pattern. In addition, he created large works for export, so it is found that he created the works with various shapes and styles.


reference No. 2006101
date of exhibition October 16, 2020
remarks original box