Monday, July 14, 2014


I find myself sitting on the sidelines as I watch a friend, an advanced collector, decide it is time to sell off his collection. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the collection is something of a rarity having been cohesively and thoughtfully constructed around the ideals of the revival of the Momoyama aesthetic. Pots by many of the most important and elite potters of the 20th century assembled are now to go the way of the clouds; they form, they come and go, they build like a great storm and then are dispersed by the winds in all directions. I can in no way take any credit for this amazing collection though we had discussed each and every piece, prior to purchase at some length by email and hour after hour of phone time. There is a sadness, a true melancholy; once at home within the companionship of each other, conducting their own complex visual symphony, once gone, each piece will end up as a singular expression of the potter's art. In my time around Japanese art, I have seen a number of good collections built, bought, sold and dispersed, but my feeling regarding this collection is that it was a unique expression of discipline, conviction and an idea that paid homage to a particular aesthetic based on a singular idea as it related to chadogu.
Illustrated is a fiery red Aka-Shino chawan by Suzuki Osamu from the mentioned collection. It is big and bold and the decoration, glaze and form are wonderfully complimentary of each other creating a perfect chawan. This piece has special meaning to me as I was fortunate to handle it at exhibition back in the early 1990's during a stay in Japan. It is large and powerful and just about as good a pot as one can imagine from this potter and the modern Mino tradition.
(Illustration used with the permission of a private collector.)