Friday, August 21, 2015


I remember back when I first read the book, PLAYFULNESS IN JAPANESE ART by Nobuo Tsuji, he discussed the purposefully altered, distressed and distorted vessels used for tea ceremony as "warped and comical". At the time I took this at face value and thought of all of the art of Japan that was playful, much with undercurrents of tremendous insight to reflect a counterpoint to the violent and chaotic times that a great number of these masterpieces were created. The simplicity and whimsy ran opposite to the age and nature of the times and the tea ceremony  served as a brief respite from the "real world"; reflection and clarity could be enhanced by the audacity and humor hidden in the art of the time. Among the real playful plastic arts of the time was the various works of Oribe-yaki where many of the design and forms seem nonsensical but upon a deeper examination there is quite a bit more to be seen and enjoyed in these spirited and whimsical creations.

Like a fat, ripe fruit just plucked from a branch, this small Oribe chaire clearly displays what Oribe is all about. Part of a complete tea set which includes chawan, mizusashi, chaire, kogo and futaoki, this modern Oribe chaire is by Ishii Takehiro, an apprentice of the Bizen master Kakurezaki Ryuichi. Reaching into the origins of Oribe, Ishii has created a chaire that is both spirited while being somewhat light hearted as not to take itself too seriously. As a singular element it is engaging and as part of a larger set it has enough presence as to not get lost in the maddening crowd.

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