Posts Tagged ‘Nara’

Kintetsu show

December 4, 2010

I just finished a 2 person show at a gallery in Nara. It is difficult to get excited about gallery shows these days. I have long been tired by the smart talk I have to engage in attending gallery shows. Give me salt of the earth people.

I am going to focus on arts and craft fairs in the Tokyo area this coming year. Nanban fired work doesn’t sell all that well around the Kansai area. It does OK further out in Western Japan and sells much better in the Kanto area. My highest sales are overseas, i.e., outside of Japan.

I have come to understand what I have heard often here in gallery circles. Japanese have seen a lot of ceramics and are not willing to buy anything but work that has a new look. The look changes every year but it doesn’t include super-shibui type work like I do. This is very interesting to me. Like a child that comes of age and thinks the world is getting to be a more dangerous place as every year passes I wonder if the movement toward more Western inspired work is a function of my understanding of the Japanese ceramic world or an actual movement in that direction. There are exceptions of course. I am talking about work that isn’t written about as the cutting edge of Japanese ceramics, that is, work that is being promoted by galleries.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.


April 24, 2010

One of my favorite places is Naramachi. It is a warren of restored merchant houses from the last century. Today I walked with my wife to an area I have never been to before. The photos are from that area. It is an unrestored section, probably like the whole neighborhood in the early part of the 20th. century.

Antiques 1-23-10

January 24, 2010

I have a couple of old items today.

The first one is a Heian or Tempyo (or here) era flask for water. It doesn’t have a base and so has to sit on a rice straw ring. It is chipped and the glaze is coming off. The shape of the loops where a strap would be attached is very beautiful.

The next piece is a scroll that was hanging in the tokonoma. The subject is very interesting. Behind the byubo you see a hat that shows that the man is cleaning up to go to meet an important person. He is sitting in front of a mirror.  Take a look at the detail in the mirror. The reflection of the mans hand is visible. The woman helping him isn’t dressed as his wife would be so it must be his lover, mistress. The painter, the late Yanagizawa Kien,  is a very well known scroll painter from the Nara area. He is so popular that his themes are copied widely and sold as his. I heard a story of a Japanese business man that was going to the U.S. on business and wanted to take some gifts. He went to an antiques dealer he knew and asked what would be an appropriate gift. The dealer suggested scrolls, easy to transport and impressive when opened. The dealer then let the man pick from about 30 counterfeits from this artist, saying foreigners wouldn’t know the difference. I have details of the box too.

The last piece is a gift I got from the dealer. It is a piece of wood that dates to the Heian period. It has been split and left rough to ensure it fits back together snugly. The inside has been hollowed out and a gold leaf applied. It is for traditional Japanese incense. Mr. Kawase had 88 made for his birthday tea “kai”. This  tea gathering is on his 88th. birthday, an auspicious number, it is the 50th. year he has been doing these gatherings, and this year is the 1,300 year anniversary of Nara.

Here is a page that explains why the 88th. birthday is called “beiju”, 米寿. It has to do with the writing of the numbers 8, 八, 10,十 and 8, 八. The “bei” of “beiju” is the character for “rice”.

Show at Joyusha in Nara.

November 13, 2009

Here are some pictures of my show that starts the 14th.

Nara Japan

November 8, 2009

I took a walk down to Nara today to ut my show notice postcards around Naramachi. It was about a 20 km. walk. I found the best display I have seen yet in a city run place. I have pictures. The base is a large square with 6 pieces in it. As you approach it tiny fish scatter around. It has live fish in the water which is about 5 cm. deep. Very interesting and neat display.

I took a rest in front of Gojunoto for about 30 minutes. The video,  here, is of a scene that suddenly appeared behind my. The priests seemed to be moving some items in the procession. There is sunlight that got into the video. Sorry about that.

Nara Craft Fair, 10-31-09 and 11-01-09

November 3, 2009

I went to the Nara Aozora craft fair over this past weekend. It is the fourth time I have been there and probably the last. There really isn’t any selection process as far as the organizers trying to have a unified theme or overall strategy. If you are able to lug your crates to the site I think you are able to participate.

I went with my wife, she was selling jewelery she makes, see here. She is a very good seller and sold 20 times the amount I did. I have a lot to learn from her. One thing I noticed is she is very excited about what she sells and isn’t afraid to share that excitement with those who come up to look. I on the other hand am more excited about the process of making and firing and have a certain disconnect with the object that results so appear somnambulant next to her. It is easy to write and to dissect that I have that quality but even easier to say it is something to change if I want to sell a lot of my work. My next chance at selling is a gallery show I have coming up from the 14th. of November in a gallery in Nara.

Antiques 8-15-09

August 17, 2009

This is a piece of roofing tile from the Hakuho period, 645-710. There are very few of these around. I have heard less than 5 extant.  The design is a lotus flower. This design evolved into the design called onigawara. For a more accurate use of the terminology the lotus design was the original “onigawara”. Breaking down the word you come up with “kawara”, which means tile, used exclusively for roofing tiles. It changes to “gawara” in this combination. “Oni” means demon, ogre, gnome.  For a detailed description of the lotus flower see here or for a general description of the onigawara see here Interestingly neither of these mention the evolution into the gargoyle permutation of the lotus flower. This site mentions the transition from the lotus motif. It is in Japanese. This site has a short description of the the same tile that I have in the picture. Japanese too. The transition to the gargoyle form happened in the Kinki area around the Tempyo era, 729-749.  The Kinki area is the area around Nara. The tile in the pictures from the book comes from the  Okayamakumetera

There are a couple of pictures of rubbings taken from the tile. They are made by placing a piece of paper over the tile and rubbing charcoal to get an impression.

I have included a small celadon glazed  tile shard and a small shard from a green glazed plate. The tile shard is worth more than 30,000 yen even though it is small.

This tile came from a temple in Nara. There are also pictures from a couple of books and a shard of a celedon glazed piece. From the same period. Anything from that period that had a glaze on it would most certainly come from an emperors temple.

Antiques 12-27-08

December 28, 2008

Here is an Oribe tea bowl dating from the beginning from the Edo Period. I think it is a little over wrought. There is really only one area that tea can be drunk out of this bowl.  Compare it to the Oribe tea bowl posted 0n 10-18-08.

I took a lot of pictures of the construction of the box. It is a very nicely constructed box with wooden pins holding it together. The calligraphy is also first class.

Lastly I have uploaded a link to a video I took today on how to tie a butterfly knot, chocho musubi, on a tea carrier box. The tea container, chaire, is a very nice Seto piece.

Click here for the video.

Antiques, 12-13-08

December 14, 2008

I took these photos at a shrine very close to one of the antique shops I go to to  study. I am still amazed, even after almost 15 years here, at the attention to detail and beauty of Japan.

The statue is an Edo era Shokannon. It is from a trinity, probably the right hand figure. It still has a lot of the kinde, gold patina, intact.

It measures, height, 249 mm, 9.8 in., width, 87 mm, 3.4 in. depth, 60 mm, 2.4 in., weight, 141 grams,  5 oz. for the statue only, with base, 309 grams, 11 oz. The base measures height, 57 mm, 2.2 in. by 80 mm, 3.1 in.  square, .