Oil-Drip Plate (Aburazara)

Object ID: 1989.020.016
Object: Seto Ware; stoneware with brown iron oxide underglaze decoration
Place of Origin: Japan
Date: Edo Period, 18th or 19th century
Credit: Museum purchase

Plates such as this were placed bellow small dishes suspended inside the papered, wood-framed lamps called andon. A lighted wick passed through vegetable oil in the small dish to provide the lamp’s illumination. The wick, saturated with oil, usually draped over the rim of the dish, causing oil to drip from the hanging end. An abarazara was placed below to catch these drips. The freely executed abstract landscapes and floral motif which decorate these examples in brown iron oxide under a clear glaze are typical of works produced during the Edo Period (1600-1868) by kilns of the Seto area.