Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I love chawan, the Japanese teabowls of Japan. Aside from being a potter for 20 years, I have been collecting since I was a teen. Chawan are a passion for me and among chawan, there is a true king, the MINE (no) MOMIJI (Summit maple Leaves). The Mine (no) Momiji chawan is a prize procession of the Goto Art Museum and is a product of an anonymous potter of the Momoyama Era. It is a nezumi-shino chawan that measures 13.6 cm across and is truly a macrocosm of pottery attributes. The posture of the bowl bespeak of a noble sense of the Japanese sensibility. The sparse decoration evokes an emotional response despite it’s abstract quality. The lift of the bowl begs out to pick it up and the roving lip brings the viewer, round and round until you slip into the interior and vastness of the bowl. Despite these attributes, the bowl is a piece of functional art, created to serve as the centerpiece of the chanoyu, Japanese tea ceremony. It has been manipulated, but unconsciously so as to seem to have spung out of a naive and thoughtless process, but it is so much more. It’s potency is palpable and it is the epitome of the complexity of simplicity.

The pottery of the Momoyama days has influenced the great potters of the 20th century like Kato Tokuro, Arakawa Toyozo and many more. One potter whose works spring from the blending of the Momoyama and ”the now”, is Suzuki Goro. This chawan bares a resemblance to the posture and casualness of the Mine (no) Momiji, but is thoroughly modern in it’s seemingly simple design and surface. Great pieces have the superfluousness of modernity and ego stripped away to reveal the honesty of the work. The movement of this chawan, like the Mine (no) Momiji ,seems eternal. (Used with the permission of a private collector)

No comments:

Post a Comment