This mask, which furnished abundant opportunities for the decorators, musicians and dancers, in showing forth how the seasons and their delights are successively exhausted by a "wanton darling," Raybright the grandchild of the Sun, is said to have been very popular.
But their skill as decorators was as great as its range was wide, and they produced a multitude of masterpieces on which alone Japans ceramic fame might safely be rested.
Of late there have happily appeared some decorators who prefer to choose their subjects from the natural field in which their great predecessors excelled, and there is reason to hope that this more congenial and more pleasing style will supplant its modern usurper.
The porcelains of Owari and Arita naturally received most attention at the hands of the Hyochi-en decorators, but there was scarcely one of the principal wares of Japan upon which they did not try their skill, and if a piece of monochromatic Minton or Svres came in their way, they undertook to improve it by the addition of designs copied from old masters or suggested by modern taste.
Yet it is plain that this school of Tokyo decorators, though often choosing their subjects badly, have contributed much to the progress of the ceramic art during the past few years.
The Tokyo decorators are not likely, therefore, to change their present methods immediately.
It is perhaps the very rapidity of the movement that is likely to retard its progress, and to fail to carry with it the wealthy clients and the decorators they employ, or perhaps even to increase the disposition to cling to the reproductions of the styles of the i i th and i 8th centuries.