I have resolved myself to the fact that there will always be those Japanese pots that will remain unidentified. Sometimes it is as simple as not being able to read the cursive script on the box or being unable to identify a personal mark or seal. Other times, the pot arrives without a box and/or a mark obscurred by a layer of glaze. The illustrated large o-sara oribe tray form is just such an example of the later, no box, covered mark. I first came in contact with this piece about 5 or 6 years ago, I was struck by the strong form and wonderful visual texture skillfully glazed in an Oribe glaze. The way in which the glaze is applied makes full use of the crumbly texture and the quality clay, the tsuchi-aji ( flavor of the earth), shows through here and there as intended by the potter. The clay appears to be a mix of Mino mogusa and Shigaraki clays, with most of the feldspar picked out of the mix before use.
This o-sara is very skillfully manipulated, textured, glazed and fired, though the maker remains a mystery, an enigma. It has qualities of Tsujimura Shiro, though I am unaware of an Oribe pieces of this style made by him. It also reminds me of the textured tray forms of Takeuchi Shugo that he creates by rolling out slabs and beating them with broken tree limbs, I even see elements of early Suzuki Goro. I am just not sure who made this piece, though that in no way detracts from the quality of the pot and the timeless pressence that it pocesses.
"By nature's kindly disposition most questions which it is beyond a man's power to answer do not occur to him at all." George Santayana (1863-1952)