Many of us have probably seen them at one time or another... drawings of cute little children, dressed in Chinese style, on bowls or dishes.
The children are normally depicted as playing under a pine tree, with butterflies and peonies around.
These children are called "karako" (唐子), which literally translate to "Chinese children". "Kara" (唐) is actually the character for the Tang dynasty (618-907) of China, considered by many as the golden age Chinese culture and power. The little children design on pottery symbolizes health for sons & daughters and longevity/continuity.
The number of children on the design also have significance. You will probably see three, five or seven children. (Always odd, never even number!) The more children on the pottery, the higher is its grade.
This matcha tea bowl has 5 children...and the pine tree is found on the inside of the bowl!
All pottery pictured in this article are available for sale at the shop or by mail order.
(All photos by the ikebana shop. All rights reserved.)