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KO-SOMETSUKE BOX AND COVER

MING DYNASTY, EARLY 17TH CENTURY

5.6 cm long

The small box is of rectangular section, the exterior painted in underglaze blue with a geometric swastika motif on the long sides and a key fret motif on the narrow sides. The cover has similarly decorated sides, the top surface painted in reserve with a further geometric swastika motif. The interior of the box and cover is covered with glaze, the flat base is left unglazed. Japanese wood box.

Ko-sometsuke, translated 'old blue and white ware', is a term given by the Japanese for Chinese blue and white porcelain made for the Japanese market in the first half of the seventeenth century. The present small box and cover is probably an incense container used during the Japanese tea ceremony. Such boxes are regarded as small treasures in Japan and the present example is particularly rare and uncommon for its shape and design.