While it rings with the feeling of the modern design, this plate is in fact an example of ko-Imari (old Imari) ware. Though it lacks the fastidious perfection and maturity of the later wares that often Imari is distinguished by refinement; these early examples are the most desirable. Ko-Imari relates to Imari ware like the classicism of the Renaissance does to the heavy ornament of the Baroque, or as an early Greek Kouros statue does to the grand flair of Hellenistic sculpture. That is to say that these ko-Imari were among the first of their kind in this style, rich with the simplicity and ingenuity of beginner’s power, before it calcifies into convention. The plate feels vibrant and fresh because it is one of the oldest, the first, and it still contains that curious energy of discovery.
One notices the loose designs of waves and leaves sketched in a delicate blue glaze on the plate’s side. Like the object’s imperfect surface, the patterns recall their own construction, making no efforts to conceal the fact that they were rendered through the movements of the human hand. The designs don’t cohere into rigid ornamentation; rather, they unfurl and flow in fluid wisps against the plate’s surface. The smooth face of the plate begins to appear as if in flux, defined by the design’s rhythmic asymmetrical flow.
So many different songs are waiting to be written against the surface of this ko-Imari plate. Even just a few slices of ripe persimmons could bring it to life, humming with bursts of orange flesh. All that they require is one who finds every meal to be an opportunity for the creation of harmony between food and its container.