Antiques 10-30-10

Today I saw a Tosansai piece, Shino sake cup from Momoyama/Edo, a bowl from Annan and a Seto bowl from the Muromachi period. Finally there were 2 pieces by Shiro Tsujimura.

The first piece is a Tou, Tang period, sansai piece. I wrote about a different piece of Tousansai here. This tea caddy is more delicate than the plate I saw before. The lid, ivory, is surprisingly heavy for the size.

The Shino piece I call a sake cup but I think it is actually a mukotsuke. It is from the late Momoyama, early Edo period. I like the delicacy of the construction and the detail shown to the bags it is put into.

The third piece is a Vietnamese piece. I am unsure if the area name is Annan or if Annan is a dynasty name. At any rate it is a piece of Annan yaki.

Up next is a Seto bowl from the Muromachi period. The foot mimics tennmoku type feet. While I was looking at this bowl the owner of the building Mr. Kawase rents came in for some kind of consultation. She saw the bowl and said it is a slightly larger version of the one she uses to eat rice out of. I didn’t know who she was so didn’t really pay much attention. She then went on about her grandfather dying and her house being full of things she doesn’t need, etc. She is in her 70’s so her dear departed grandfather would have been firmly rooted in the Edo period. I then got the idea she is the owner of the house connected to Mr. Kawase’s antiques shop. The shop is in the warehouse, kura, of the house she owns. The house itself is a jyuyoubunkasai, Important Cultural Treasure,  if memory serves me. So maybe she does eat her daily rice out of a Muromachi Seto bowl.

The last 2 pieces are made by that ever present entity, Shiro Tsujimura. A long story short. Mrs. Kawase went to Tsujimura’s house to get a kitten. Came home with a kitten and these 2 pieces.

A note on the pieces by Tsujimura.

Tsujimura spent a lot of time around and being sponsored by  a now deceased antiques dealer whose name escapes me. In other words he knows something about something when it comes to antiques. Some of his pieces reflect that. I think the foot on the yunomi is a strong nod in that direction. I personally find the turning a little too contrived, self aware, cute, self conscious, insert more words here. I do think it is an interesting foot, but not for the right reasons. I find it interesting because it is done by a master potter that has an immense reserve to pull from but has chosen to be so self conscious. Maybe I should stop staring so much at the foot on bowls.

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot lately is how this time frame, 1990-2030,  will be interpreted in 300 -500  years. There will be some confusion I think at the absolutely huge numbers of micro-potteries. The books on this period will have to spell out the explosion in availability of relatively cheap kilns, pugs, glazes, etc, that were on the market. I think the glazes will be studied extensively as many of them are made by the same company in Shigaraki and sold under a number of different names and by different companies. I wonder if this period will be looked back on as a golden time. There are a lot of absolute masters working, most of whom will never reach any type of name recognition but whose work will eventually end up in an antiques shop of a Mr. Kawase of the 2300-2500 year era.


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5 Responses to “Antiques 10-30-10”

  1. rob Says:

    Great blog Dave and I appreciate your study, training, interested in things of the past …..antiques. I think that much of becoming who were are as potters is developing ones eye in terms of what came before us which for me now living in the wilds of Seattle is difficult. Much of what i tend to feed off of is not found here so in that sense you are very fortunate. On the other hand, a certain distance from the wonderful fullness and glory of the past can be to ones advantage as well.It is much easier to give ones self “permission” so to speak with ones work.

    I had a conversation with Akio Takamori a few weeks ago and the subject turned to ceramics in the US vs. that of Japan. I held my arms out as wide as I could and said that in the US this is the breadth of work then placed my hand a foot or so apart to indicate the depth of work. Conversely I held my hands at shoulder width and then about 3 feet apart when describing Japanese ceramics. Neither is better than the other nor richer IMHO, just different, however I tend to be drawn to the depth of work there for my creative feeding. Which brings me to Tsujimura.

    I admire the man as he seems to know both worlds, that of tradition as you mentioned yet his seemingly disinterest with traditional process and interest in moving the genre forward, at least technically speaking. I too take issues with the piece as I see it, given his status as a master potter and well versed in various traditions yet a self proclaimed black sheep, but for different reasons than you do. To me he gave up on the piece by not making a reference to the past with any addition to it, which I feel is important if one is to be “referential”, nor being bold, as he can be, and moving the vernacular forward. To me it is that of one trying to break from the past yet can’t quite bring him self to do it, to give himself permission and as a result it fails. As an aside, I’ve always thought that his weakest work was his shino with his strongest being his kohiki, and yes he does suffer from the sheer volume of his creative spirit as nothing is destroyed after firing. Not a bad problem to have however……

    Please excuse my rambling if you will…..


    • togeii Says:

      Tsujimura is an interesting guy. I haven’t been over there in a number of years. I am always amazed at his seemingly effortless ability to construct and execute an image so you will believe what he wants you to believe. The last time I went I took an American over to meet him. Tsujimura got him so drunk that there is no way the guy will remember the tour of Tsujimura’s ‘real’ studio, the one with all the high tech forming equipment.

      • rob Says:

        The last time I visited Tsujimura san was 10 – 12 years ago and I was with my wife at which time we spent the afternoon wandering his studio, buildings, and grounds, pretty much unescorted most of the time. I did see a black Ferrari (part of the image IMHO) but no other exotic equipment.

        Regarding his “effortless ability to construct and execute an image so you will believe what he wants you to believe.” a leopard cannot change it’s spots as they say…… he is Japanese after all and comes from a culture in which image creation in both word and action is very common.



      • togeii Says:

        Hello Rob,
        I agree. I find him a very friendly and nice person.
        If you headed up the paved road about 100 meters or so you would come to his actual studio. The part you wandered about is probably the area behind his house, heading up the mountain. The tea room is at the top.
        Yes, a black Ferrari, grey Porsche and now a BMW SUV.

  2. rob Says:

    Hi Dave,

    Wander we did….. I saw his studio….my website/travel/ceramics has a shot or two of it I believe.

    Happy to hear my friend Toyokawa san is still selling him lots of cars as well. 🙂



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