Friday, May 26, 2017


I have written about Konishi Heinai II previously who is known for his rather idiosyncratic Shigaraki and Raku wares of which this chawan is a classic and dynamic example. Though Konishi was not part of the Raku family tradition and rarely identified his pieces as such, this evocative chawan was produced using the nearly four century old Raku process where a pot is glazed and then plucked out of the kiln at a fairly low temperature. The rather interesting thing about Heinai's works is that since he is not bound by any strict convention and spent time with another "unconventional" potter, Kawakita Handeishi, his pots have a uniqueness and individuality about them that certainly makes his pots stand out among other chadogu makers. Though well known for what one would or could classify as aka-raku and kuro-raku, it is his less conventional Raku pieces that have quite a bit to say and even more to contemplate as these pieces display a vision intent on its own voice. This particular surface paints an alluring landscape that reminds me of a combination of the Taisho-Showa Nihonga painters infused with a strong dose of the 20th century abstract expressionists, a blend that works well to compliment the rather sturdy and purposeful form. Over the years I have handled and seen a number of Raku (and Shigaraki) pieces by Konishi Heinai II and I am never disappointed with the imaginative, lustrous and thought provoking surfaces that he has plied to his three dimensional canvases.
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."  Matsuo Basho  (1644-1694)