Plate with painted design of a covered jar, 'Fragrant Orchid'

Accession Number

Plate with painted design of a covered jar, 'Fragrant Orchid'

Tomimoto Kenkichi

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
Porcelain with blue underglaze painting and iron glaze

11/16 in. x 6 5/16 in. ( 1.8 cm x 16 cm )

Credit Line
Gift in memory of Harold Philip Stern

Label copy
While studying interior design in England, Tomimoto Kenkichi encountered the philosophy and works of William Morris (1834–1896), the central figure of the British Arts and Crafts movement. Inspired by the philosophy of John Ruskin (1819–1900) and others, Morris aimed to create everyday objects that respected materials and rejected unnecessary ornament; he opposed what he and his followers perceived to be the soulless, even anti-humanistic, aspects of mass production. The Anglo-American Arts and Crafts movement resonated strongly with the young Tomimoto, who went on to become an important member of the Mingei movement in the 1920s.
Tomimoto was particularly interested in blue-and-white porcelain (sometsuke) and ceramics with a distinctive blue underglaze and enamel overglaze of gold and silver (iroe kinginsai). His works are distinguished by their elegant forms and free drawing. In this small plate, the bold rim of the iron glaze contrasts with the graceful line describing a pot and the calligraphy, which reads “orchid fragrance.”
(Turning Point exhibition, Spring 2010)

Subject matter
A decorative plate.

Physical Description
Porcelain plate with raised brown rim. The inner circle uses blue underglaze painting to illustrate a jar with a lid that reads in kanji "fragrant orchid"

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Decorative Arts

Collection Area

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calligraphy (process)
orchid (color)
plate (material)
porcelain (visual works)

2 Related Resources

Cobalt & Blue
(Part of: Exchange and Influence on Global Trade Routes)
Cabinet L: Shelf 3
(Part of: Albertine Monroe-Brown Study-Storage Gallery)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted