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Rectangular dish with design of iris
mid 18th century

Ogata Ihachi (Kyoto Kenzan II) active 1720-1760)
Edo period

White clay with enamels and iron pigment under transparent lead glaze
H: 42.5 W: 8.2 D: 2.4 cm
Kyoto, Japan

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1896.56a-c

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The analogue for this shape is a paper strip called tanzaku, used for inscribing poems. "Tanzaku dishes" were made by the first Kenzan throughout his career. Those, however, are inscribed with poetry while this piece is painted. The theme, as indicated by the motif of iris, is the "eight bridges" from the Tales of Ise. In this context, the rectangular dish could also be interpreted as one of the planks of the bridge across the iris swamp.