During the Meiji period (1868-1912), when this tea bowl was created, Japan was taking advantage of the new trading links with the West that were established after the end of almost two hundred years of seclusion. As a result, enthusiasm for Japanese art and crafts, known commonly as Japonisme, became widespread and had a profound effect on Western art and design. At the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867 the Japanese pavilion featured 145 exhibitors, and included a large display of objects from Satsuma, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. Following the success of the exhibition, Satsuma wares, that are charcaterised by intricate painted decoration, were exported on a large scale to Europe and America.
The potter who made this bowl, Kozan, was appointed as artist to the Japanese Imperial household and was one of the greatest potters working during the Meiji period. This piece is decorated with intricately painted patterns and scenes depicting figures in landscapes.