Posts Tagged ‘kamajirushi’

Bizen kamajirushi, about 100 pictures of them.

February 19, 2012

For many pictures of Bizen kamajirushi, see

Antiques 1-22-11

January 22, 2011

The first piece I saw was a Shigaraki bowl with a bad repair job. It is actually a regular bowl that the tea people made into a mizusashi.

The next is a handled  plate fired  Bizen  that I have photographed before. I took the opportunity to photograph the whole set of kamajirushi including the one that is in the bottom of the plate. I have labeled the different periods in the title of the pictures. If you click a picture and read the title it will tell you what period the shirushi are from. It should be noted the shirushi were for identifying work from workshops in the huge kilns and were not signed with an eye toward 500 or so years later and someone trying to read them. That is to say the images in the book I took the photos out of won’t match up perfectly with any one actual piece’s shirushi.

The next piece is a lacquered box, a piece of Japanese made tsuishu. Compare the detail on this Japanese made tsuishu with the Chinese made tsuishu I wrote about here. No comparison. The piece today is from one of the top dealers in Nara, not Mr. Kawase. It features a matsu, pine, take, bamboo and ume, plum motif. This is a strong indication it is newer. Older pieces will only have 2 of the 3 motif elements. The word for this type of 3 plant motif is shochikubai. Sho = matsu = pine, chiku = take = bamboo and bai = ume = plum. This is an interesting point. My children know this already but I think it would take a fair amount of studying to come across this commonly understood way of saying ‘a motif that contains pine, bamboo, and plum’ for a non-native speaker of Japanese.

The last piece is a kind of throw away. I really like the detail and that is why I photographed it. It is a handmade basket maybe from the turn of the century. It is colored from smoke. The material is bamboo.

I have so many pictures I am not going to try to organize them. If you click on the photo there is a title that will explain what it is.

Recent finds.

July 16, 2010

It has been raining here for about a week. Pouring, day and night.
I went to an auction I attend monthly in Nara and here are the things I picked up.

First a few notes on the auction.

The market has completely crashed for middle quality Imari. The market for high middle and the lower end of the high market is looking sick too. The very top, Nabeshima, shoki Imari, etc. is holding it’s own.

I am very interested in sobachoko. I have been reading a couple of books I bought recently on  them and I am itching to try out my new found knowledge. I won’t be doing any of that until I scrape enough money to buy some since sobachoko are the one item that has consistently held ground on price. Expensive.

I could have picked up a matching set of 2 bowls done in celedon with underglaze work. They were very beautiful and delicate. I didn’t simply because they were outside of my very narrow price range but after I thought about it I think I really missed an opportunity. I do end up selling most of what I buy so I can’t afford to have a large amount tied up in my own “collection” but they were very beautiful.

There were a couple of items I wanted to bid on but left before they came up. One was a Bizen tokkuri that had a kamajirushi in an unlikely spot. I saw a few people looking at the bottom of the piece trying to figure out if what looked like a mark was in fact a mark. I walked over and did the same, deciding it wasn’t a mark. As I was putting the piece back into the basket I noticed a distinct and identifiable mark on the side that I am sure most people missed. The tokkuri was at least 300-400 years old so I might have gotten a deal if the mark wasn’t noticed by anyone else. The other piece I wanted to bid on was a shoki Imari plate. Very simple underglaze gosu design. One of the most simple designs I have seen. I forgot both of them and only remembered them as we were heading home.

The first is a piece of wood from I don’t know what. It has old and rusted nails holding it together. Very beautiful and delicate.
The second piece is a celadon glazed plate with extensive underglaze work in gosu or cobalt. Gosu is Japan’s natural cobalt. At some point the plate was repaired with gold fill. I really like pieces with this type of repair and I think this plate looks fantastic with it.
The next piece is a printed plate with a brown edge.
The next plate is interesting in that it has a variety of different motifs.
The next plate is a typical piece decorated with cobalt. The color is much more intense than gosu.
Mountain Fuji plate is next and in the plates the last one is a stork and pine tree theme.
I also bought a tea ceremony furo and kama.
Lastly are 3 candelabra. The smallest is very nice. It looks like it belongs in a temple. The second one is very Japanese and the last one is more western.

Antiques 7-10-10

July 11, 2010

Here are some items from today.

The first up is a glass from Baccarat. Strange? On this blog, yes. I am not that interested in this type of work so I only took a couple of pictures. It is an extremely thin piece, part of a 10 glass set. The dealer is playing host to 8-9 young dealers coming from Tokyo and plans to serve beer to them in these glasses.

The next piece is a fan from Edo, about 350 years ago.  Made by a person named Fujimura Youken, 藤村 庸軒 a tea person well known in his time. The piece is considered the best fan made in Nara. An old name for Nara is Nanto,  南東. It is exceptional  in that it has about 120 ribs of bamboo. Fans made nowadays have less than a third of that.

Next is a set of kugikakushi, made from copper. Kugikakushi are nail covers. These are shippou type. The motif is of kiku, chrysanthemum. Given that these were probably used in a castle or other elite setting. They date from Momoyama period, about 400 years ago. That is about the time the Japanese got the technology transfer from the Chinese about how to make enamel ware. Notice the nails are square. I almost blurted out something when the dealer twisted one of them up to show me the back. They are attached by thread to the fabric and I didn’t realize it was possible to stand them upright.   The term shippou won’t fit perfectly with the definition I have linked to. There are often differences between what scholars say and what is used in the “field” in Japan.

The last piece is a Bizen tokkuri. From the end of the Momoyama going into the Edo period. The box says Eunko yori Suematsukei kairo itadaita. Basically a gift from Eunko to Suematsukei. The kamajirushi matches the mizusashi I posted in this post,

Take a look at the kamajirushi on the tokkuri and the mizusashi. They are from the same kiln.

Japanese antiques 4-4-10

April 5, 2010

Today was very interesting.

The first piece is a Momoyama period Bizen mizusashi. It has an identifiable kamajirushi on the bottom. Kamajirushi are “signatures” used to identify individual potters firing together in a community kiln. There are also kamajirushi that identify a single individual potter but I would think they would be more appropriately called signatures. It also seems to me to be a mis-labeling to use the word kamajirushi. Kama = kiln + shirushi, jirushi = seal or sign because as I understand the ancient kilns kamajirushi were used to identify work in the huge kilns. A number of production houses would band together and put all the work into one kiln as the kilns were 50-100 meters long. The signature would actually not be for the kiln but for the production house, each kiln load would have a number of kamajirushi in each firing.

The next set of photos are from a book which I didn’t get the name of. They are kamajirushi starting in the Kamakura period running up through the Momoyama period. Interesting.

The next piece is a sake cup made in Japan for a Dutch order. It was probably exported and seems to have been modeled on a Seto piece or design.

The next piece is a Momoyama period Oribe Shino incense holder. The design motif is of the warabi plant.  The link is to warabi mochi, not the plant.

The last piece is an Edo period tea ceremony box. It is a medium sized box. This would have held all the utensils for a tea ceremony under the cherry blossoms. The really nice boxes would have had everything including a small kama for heating the tea water. This particular box has a fantastic patina. The weaving of the box inspires respect for the level of craft in Japan.

The writing on the box lid is in old Japanese. The first photo shows “Ekaratsu” or Karatsu with an image, i.e., underglazed iron pigment.

The next photo shows “Oribe Karatsu ko” which means Oribe Karatsu is the type of ceramic ware, ko means, in this case, an incense holder.

The last photo of writing says “nijuni go”. It is a cataloging reference and probably was used by the owner to signify that the piece was #22 in his collection. Nijuni = 22, go = a counter meaning #