Monday, February 25, 2013


I will start out by apologizing for not having any pictures to go along with this post, but I am respecting the wishes of the owner to keep the photos to myself. That out of the way, I recently had the opportunity to handle and spend time with a magnificent Fujiwara Kei Bizen chawan. Though a bit on the small side, its rounded form, exceptional potting and firing created a piece well beyond its measurements. Fired upside down, over half of the exterior surface is covered in cascading ash, tamadare, that all moves up to the lip, the remainder of the exterior and interior are covered in a beautiful, even serene purple hued hi-iro sheen with wisps of smoky trails where the fired had caressed the bowl. To some I am sure the bowl may seem out of step with what is modern Bizen, but the quiet dignity of the chawan exudes an inescapable eloquence that few potters can muster. What also can be mistaken for simple throwing is in fact a lifelong dedication to creating pots with a seemingly naive honesty that was present during the days of the Momoyama era. There was a time when this style of potting ushered in a second renaissance, similar to the Momoyama times and lead by the giants of the 20th century; men like Fujiwara Kei, Kaneshige Toyo, Arakawa Toyozo, Nakazato Muan, Miwa Kyuwa and a few others lead a resurgence of ideals that had been long lost. This particular pot and potter managed to create a new voice for Bizen that will act as a standard for centuries to come.

"True eloquence consists in saying all that is proper, and nothing more." Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)