Posts Tagged ‘mizusashi’

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 #

Antiques 3-11-09

March 13, 2009

This is a Momoyama era Iga bowl. The real McCoy. I have a Iga mizusashi I will post soon. Real Iga is less common than Shigaraki. I don’t really have a lot to say about it. It surprised me to find out it is so old. The condition of the glaze and surface suggested a much newer piece. It has a nice feel to the surface. If you try to make and sell something this relaxed as far as finish goes these days you would get shot down.

Antiques 1-24-09

January 25, 2009

I will only post this piece although I have some other really interesting pieces.

What is so interesting to me about this piece is it passed right under my nose and I didn’t see it. That might not sound unusual but the truth of the matter is I really think it is a masterpiece of the Momoyama era and I couldn’t recognize it as it passed by me on the way to the auction table.

I will first have to explain I go to  a certain auction every month on the 15th. The pieces to be auctioned make their way to the front by way of a circuitous route that passes all the participants. I tend to stand to the right side of the table as seen from my view, that is the table is to my right, more towards the front of the room. The pieces start their journey behind me and a little further back in the room. I have two chances to look as the baskets slowly make the journey. Picture me looking towards the front of the room to decide to bid and looking behind me at the upcoming pieces. The bidding sometimes only lasts 5-10 seconds, excluding the extra time it takes when I bid and win for everyone to chuckle at my name, which everyone seems to find endlessly amusing. So it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility I missed this piece but it would be one of the first as it is right in my ken.

It shows a very pleasant green in the inside bottom which indicates a very strong reduction during firing. It also has had extensive repairs but when I was taking pictures of it Mr. Kawase took some books out of his extensive library and showed me other similar pieces that are Important Cultural Properties that have the same or more repairs.

I decided to start studying tea for a little while because of this mizusashi. It would take a lot more writing to explain but this jar is the catalyst.

I have been participating and studying a lot on the Gotheborg.com site, http://www.gotheborg.com/. It is mainly focused on Chinese ceramics, Japanese ceramics are not the main area of interest. My studying has led me to a, for me, very interesting conclusion. Chinese ceramics are infinitely easier to understand for Europeans, read “Westerners” as the term is used here in Japan. As a side note, when I was doing my apprenticeship my teacher said the Far East looks a lot like Europe to him and I seemed more like an Easterner to him than a westerner. To him a Westerner looks a lot like a Chinese person.At the time I dismissed his comments as interesting but not worth a lot of consideration. As I have participated in Gotheborg I have come to see the depth to what he says.