Iga-style vase

Vase in style of Momoyama-period Iga ware, with cylindrical body, large trumpet mouth rising from squared shoulders, and paired, hand-modeled lugs attached to shoulder and lower wall of mouth.

Clay: Shigaraki stoneware clay, light gray firing to warm red on surface, with numerous white spots caused by melted feldspar granules.

Glaze: thick, greenish, translucent, crackled wood-ash glaze applied to exterior “front” of neck and upper body, and interior of neck facing the “front,” as well as to exterior “back” of neck, running onto shoulder and body. This glaze was applied to the bisque-fired vessel to recreate the effects of “natural ash glaze” glaze developing from wood ash deposited directionally in the course of firing. The vessel was fired on the floor of a front chamber of a multi-chamber climbing kiln, where in addition it received a dusting of wood ash on the front-facing surfaces, producing a golden-brown glossy surface. The lower half of the body and edges of the base were blackened by standing in a thick layer of ash.

Decoration: while still damp, the wheel-thrown form was modeled at the rim, shoulder, and base; five elongated X’s were incised around the neck and seven curving vertical lines were incised (from top to bottom) around the body.

Accessories: yellow cotton wrapper (probably new); original paulownia-wood box with inscription.

Maker(s)
Artist: Takahashi Rakusai III (1898-1976)
Historical period(s)
Showa era, ca. 1940
Medium
Shigaraki stoneware clay with wood-ash glaze
Style
Shigaraki ware
Dimensions
H x W x D: 28.2 x 12.4 x 12.1 cm (11 1/8 x 4 7/8 x 4 3/4 in)
Geography
Japan, Shiga prefecture, Shigaraki
Credit Line
Gift of Chieko and Tetsuya Ogawa
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1998.157
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Vase

Keywords
Japan, Shigaraki ware, Showa era (1926 - 1989), stoneware, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

Ogawa Ken'ichi, Gifu, Japan, purchased from Takahashi Rakusai [1]

To 1998
Mr. Tetsuya Ogawa, Ogaki, Gifu, Japan, given by Ogawa Ken'ichi, to 1998 [2]

From 1998
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, given by Mrs. Chieko and Mr. Tetsuya Ogawa in 1998

Notes:

[1] In a conversation in Ogaki, Japan, on November 16, 1998, donor Ogawa Chieko explained that her husband's father, Ogawa Ken'ichi, bought many ceramic pieces from Takahashi Rakusai and gave them to his nine children and to other relatives one year on the anniversary (meinichi) of his mother's death. The Japanese term for such gifts is hikimono. Mrs. Ogawa does not remember which year the vases were distributed as gifts, but it was at least fifty years ago, either during or just after World War II. She does not know how Ogawa Ken'ichi might have known about Takahashi Rakusai, although she recalled that a teacher of tea ceremony based in Nagoya and trained in the Omote Senke school of tea built a tea house in the town in Gifu Prefecture where Ogawa Ken'ichi lived, and she suggested that the tea teacher might have made the introduction.
Mr. and Mrs. Ogawa were my host parents when I was an American Field Service exchange student during the summer of 1961. I saw this vase during a visit to their home in 1997 (according to Provenance Remark 1, Louise Cort, August 13, 1999, in the object record).

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mr. and Mrs. Tetsuya Ogawa

Description

Vase in style of Momoyama-period Iga ware, with cylindrical body, large trumpet mouth rising from squared shoulders, and paired, hand-modeled lugs attached to shoulder and lower wall of mouth.

Clay: Shigaraki stoneware clay, light gray firing to warm red on surface, with numerous white spots caused by melted feldspar granules.

Glaze: thick, greenish, translucent, crackled wood-ash glaze applied to exterior "front" of neck and upper body, and interior of neck facing the "front," as well as to exterior "back" of neck, running onto shoulder and body. This glaze was applied to the bisque-fired vessel to recreate the effects of "natural ash glaze" glaze developing from wood ash deposited directionally in the course of firing. The vessel was fired on the floor of a front chamber of a multi-chamber climbing kiln, where in addition it received a dusting of wood ash on the front-facing surfaces, producing a golden-brown glossy surface. The lower half of the body and edges of the base were blackened by standing in a thick layer of ash.

Decoration: while still damp, the wheel-thrown form was modeled at the rim, shoulder, and base; five elongated X's were incised around the neck and seven curving vertical lines were incised (from top to bottom) around the body.

Accessories: yellow cotton wrapper (probably new); original paulownia-wood box with inscription.

Inscription(s)

Original paulownia-wood box inscribed on the front of the lid by the artist: "Iga mimitsuki hanaire [Iga vase with lugs].

Marking(s)

Round seal with relief characters "Rakusai" impressed on base.

Published References
  • Shirasu Masako, Yagi Kazuo. Shigaraki Iga. vol. 7 Tokyo. pls. 39-51,49,55.
  • Louise Allison Cort. Clay as Content: The Significance of Shigaraki Clay in Japanese Ceramics. no. 3, December 2003. p. 40, fig. 3.
  • Tomimasu Jun'ichi. Shigaraki-yaki no Kansho [An Appreciation of Shigaraki Ceramics]. Shigaraki, Japan. pp. 98-104.
  • Louise Allison Cort. Shigaraki Potters' Valley., 1st ed. New York and Tokyo. pp. 245,258, 293, 298-99, fig. 51.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
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