Friday, July 29, 2016


Illustrated is a rather unique tetsuyu (temmoku style) form that I would call anything but ordinary. Thrown out of a buff, sandy, plastic clay and then painstakingly manipulated to this involved form, the corners of the first tier shoulder had small appendages attached to add visual cues to the pot. The surface is glazed over in a rich and deep blackish iron glaze over which a rusty accent was applied for great contrast creating wonderful streaks running down the sides aided by the intense heat of the kiln and no doubt helped just a bit by gravity. Made by Mino veteran and tetsuyu specialist, Manten Totatsu (b.1940) he has dedicated a large portion of his life to working with iron glazes and manipulating them to his will and purpose which can also be seen in a long line of the awards he has received from varying organizations for his body of work. I have seen quite a few pieces by Manten Totatsu from guinomi/tokkuri, serving pieces, large hachi, vases and chawan but I have never seen a piece of this form before but based on the skill of execution and exceptional way the glaze works on the form, I suspect this wasn't the first pot of this type and certainly not the last.
"Tetsuyu develops variations depending on tiny changes in the kiln firing, temperature and in the shading of the glaze. Using an ordinary shape, by completely eliminating the surface works and by changing the glazes, I have worked to search for contrasting blacks and browns and to develop power and volume." A quote from Manten Totatsu on his study and research into iron rich glazes.