Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Illustrated is a very fine and well fired Iga chawan by Kojima Kenji. This kutsugata chawan was fired on its side, resting on shells which have left permanent impressions on the bowl as ash runs down to what was the bottom of the pot during the firing. The landscape of the teabowl is painted with traditional paddled designs, rich hi-iro, tamadare, bidoro and a face covered in a dark brown to black ash where some charcoal also built up. The lip is banded with wet ash that invites the viewer in to the depths of the piece and the kodai is also covered in a rich coat of dark, wet ash which feels pleasant in the hand. Kojima Kenji rarely fails to please with his pottery and is, in my opinion, one of the most thoughtful and attentive potters dedicated to the traditions and ideals of old Iga pottery.
I realize a lot of my descriptions are very obvious and self explanatory, but the process of acting as narrator helps me to clarify my thoughts on the pots. From this pot, beyond the obvious, what stands out to most is the honesty of the bowl. There are no bells and whistles, it is bare excepting the wrath of the fire, it speaks of the essence of Iga, the harmony between potter, clay and fire. From my perspective, that is as good as it gets.
"Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them."   Thomas Mann (1875-1955)

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