Monday, November 7, 2011


Illustrated is a magnificent, thrown and squared yohen-haikaburi Shira-Hagi mizusashi by Ningen Kokuho, Miwa Jyusetsu XI (1910- ). Unlike most Hagi-yaki, this monolithic form mizusashi has a wide variety of color and texture from the use of a rich iron slip under the glaze, iron over the glaze and the results of an intense wood firing in which areas of the pot have been covered with ash as well as reducing areas of the underlying slip. As much sculpture as it is tea utensil (chadogu), this pot is a tour de force by Kyusetsu and aptly depicts why the Miwa “dynasty” leads the way among all of Hagi. The real brilliance of this style of pot was succinctly pointed out as having “prioritized form over function” by Miwa Kyusetsu XII (formerly Ryosaku), son of Miwa Jyusetsu (formerly, Kyusetsu XI). Once able to break away from the convention of absolute utility, this body of work has added a new vocabulary to the Hagi tradition. Today, Jyusetsu’s works act as a new, modern archetype for anyone interested in Hagi-yaki.

(From a private American collection)

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