Furumonzen-dori, a street in Kyoto, is known for its shops dealing in antiquities, among them calligraphic works and paintings, tea implements, and European brocades and damasks brought to Japan in the pre-modern era. One of its shops, a specialist in antique dishes, is owned by the author of this book. Born into a family that dealt in calligraphy and paintings, Hiroko Kidoh grew up surrounded by antiques and collectibles. It was more or less as a matter of course that she became a collector herself, beginning with small items such as gratuity envelopes and miniature plates. The present book features a collection of blue-and-white porcelain works selected by her discerning eye.
Chinaware produced in northwestern Kyushu from the 17th to 19th centuries is known broadly as Ko-Imari (Old Imari) ware, but the author focuses in particular on the appeal of the blue-and-white style, which is perhaps the most widely recognized and best-loved variety within the category. The style gets its English name from the fact that the designs?which include flowers, small animals, landscapes, arabesques, and more?are drawn with cobalt blue pigment on a white background; the designs range in character from intricately minute to big and bold or even humorous, revealing the varied artistic range of Japan's artisans.
The dishes are grouped in sections by size and shape?miniature plates, saucers, small bowls, soba cups, large bowls, and so forth. To demonstrate their timeless appeal, they are also shown holding traditional foods associated with some of Japan's most important holidays and festivals, or with flower arrangements that evoke the four seasons, all in full-color photographs.