The potter who made these plates is the 14th generation descendant of a Korean potter who was captured during the Japanese attempt to conquer Korea under General Hideyoki in 1597. His ancestor was brought to Japan and settled in the town of Arita, where he taught the Japanese the techniques of firing porcelain vessels. The town became one of the main centers of Japanese ceramic production and is famous for its widely traded Imari ware (named after the port from which the ceramics were exported). These plates, although made with finely glazed traditional decorations, are intended for use in serving or eating foods to accompany rice. A beautiful glazed porcelain vase with a flower design by the same potter can be seen in the Japan exhibit at the British Museum.