Unique Antique Japanese Military Planes Over Sea Ministry of Navy Raku Ware Ashtray
This is a very unique Japanese navy ashtray. The whole ashtray is green and unusually deep. The ashtray is decorated with three planes flying over some waves. On the back are the words "Ministry of the Navy" and the seal of the maker "Raku". The Raku family is arguably the most prestigious ceramics maker in Japan. They are most famous for making tea bowls for the tea ceremony - and the family has been making these since the 16th century. Tea bowls they make routinely sell for thousands of dollars. The raku seal you see here is from their family - other raku-ware makers use different seals to distinguish themselves. Raku ware is known for being rustic looking and rough - it represents the beauty of imperfection.
This was likely an ashtray used by officers or other high ranking members, and is the first time I've encountered a raku family made military item. Normal raku ware are usually red or black - green is a departure from their usual production and has to do with the head of the family at the time, Raku Seinyu, who was interested in experimental glazes. You can see some of his work here at the official Raku ware museum run by the family.
Condition: Mint. There are a few small spots along the edge around the rim where the glaze doesn't cover the clay.
Size: 3.5" x 3.5"