Japanese antiques 4-2-11

Today I saw some very interesting pieces.

The first is a set of 12 bowls marked ‘Keicho 18″ or 1613. That puts them into the very beginning of the Edo period, just after the battle at Sekigahara. They are very old but don’t look it. I would be fooled by just looking at them, thinking they are maybe 100 years or so old.

Some points about them.

There are 6 sets of bowls, a larger rice bowl and a smaller soup bowl make up each set. Each set has the same type of pictures although since they are hand-painted the pictures vary within the sub-sets. I only have pictures of 3 sets. The other 3 sets were in front of me but it didn’t seem like I could comfortably unwrap them and start taking pictures. You will notice a difference in color in some of the bowls. That is due to the presence or not of heat, i.e., if hot foods were served in them or not. They just came back from the Kyoto National Museum and are on their way back to the Tokyo National Museum. They are Mr. Kawase’s bowls but he has them on long term loan to museums.   They are designed to not take up much space when stored. The style of the bowls is called yotsuwan. Yotsuwan refers to the fact there are 4 ‘bowls’ in a set, not the lacquer style. Finally, they are done in the Limpa style.  Limpa is a style that I think is associated with Koetsu, long ‘o’.

Next is a piece with an equally impressive pedigree. It is a natsume given by Sen No Rikyu to the Kofukuji temple. It was made by Seiwami if my transliteration is correct.  Very nice lineage. I have to admit I don’t ‘get’ natsume or chaire for that matter.

The last piece is from the Kamakura period. It is used by a priest to “open” the eyes of a new recruit to Buddhism. I wrote down “mikyoho” as the name for it but that doesn’t seem to bring anything up so maybe I am mistaken.

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