Antiques 9-05-09 and volunteer ceramics work

I was able to take pictures of the outer box lid of the raku tea bowl I wrote about last week.  The lid was written by the late father of the dealer I learn from.  The writing says, “yoko gumo, Mitsui Kei go hon” The first part, yoko gumo is the name of the bowl, the second part, Mitsui Kei is the name of the Mitsui Corporation president that owned the bowl and the “go hon” is an honorific title I think. There is one picture of the elder Kawase’s signature.

I learned more about reading the “kukii” than antiques this week. Kukii is an interesting word that seems to get foreigner’s hackles up on how even to translate it.  See here and put  kukii in the search box,  here or here to get  a feel of how contentious this word is.  I go with a reading of the atmosphere as an adequate translation.

Usually when I go to the antique shop and there is someone there I am able to walk in and out with out being noticed. Look back on my 6-14-09 post and half way down to the million dollar buddhas entry.  This last Saturday I opened the door to see someone in the shop only to have Mr. Kawase wave us to the seat next to him and invite us in. That would usually mean the customer/client/guest/visitor is almost ready to leave. Yesterday we sat down and instead were pulled into the conversation on a number of occasions by Mr. Kawase. Now, that might not seem unusual for the West such as it may be but for Japan it is very unusual to be pulled into a conversation in a situation like this. There were a number of celedon glazed shards the visitor had brought lain out in front of them. I heard a reference to Heijo era shards and then Mr. Kawase take down the person’s phone number. My take is that word is spreading in  antiques circles that Mr. Kawase is gathering celedon shards to mount as gifts for his 88th. year tea ceremony and a lot of folks are coming out of the woodwork. The part about trying to read the atmosphere came in when trying to decide if we should leave or not. I generally know when to leave so some big deal can be closed but this last Saturday I couldn’t figure out why we kept on getting pulled into the conversation.  I finally took it to mean Mr. Kawase didn’t want to buy the shards and wanted us there as a reason for the guy to leave. After a long and convoluted 30 minutes or so we took leave and left the two of them to themselves.

The next set of pictures are of a mounted vase.  I made the vase, the wood it is mounted on is from the Momoyama period or early Edo. I have a recurring theme on this blog about seeing the beauty of things. I am not about to propose my small vase is so beautiful as to warrant being hung on a piece of wood that is as nice looking at the one it is being displayed on but I will say I certainly didn’t see the beauty in it when I sold it to Mr. Kawase.

The last set of pictures is of how I spent my Saturday. I often do an event in which I do a not for profit ceramics hands on day. It is mainly aimed at children although adults often come and participate. It is a way to give back to a country that I have gotten so much from.  I will fire these cups and then give them back to the children. I have been doing this event for about 13 years here. Generally I have around 30-80 participants. This last Saturday I had around 13 children and a couple of adults. I will do the event again on the 10th. of October in Nara close to Nara Park and then fire all these cups and those together. It is fun to do and very nice to see the cups the children paint.


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