Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

A Fine Bizen Okimono of Kannon â Meiji

A Fine Bizen Okimono of Kannon – Meiji

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Pre 1920: Item # 1148390

Please refer to our stock # 33 when inquiring.
This okimono of Kannon, the Japanese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion was made in the Bizen kilns. The figure measures 6 7/8” high by 2 ¾” wide by 2 ¼” deep. The Kannon is formed in a standing position with arms folded under her garment. Her expression is sublime as would befit a Goddess of Mercy. It has an impressed potter’s mark on the back; however, it is too blurred to be translated. The figure is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks or problems. We date it to the late Meiji period, circa 1885 – 1900.

Bizen ware (Bizen-yaki) is a type of Japanese pottery most identifiable by its iron-like hardness, reddish brown color, absence of glaze, and markings resulting from wood-burning kiln firing. Bizen is named after the village of Imbe in Okayama prefecture, formerly known as Bizen province. This artwork is Japan's oldest pottery making technique, introduced in the Heian period. Bizen is one of the six remaining kilns of medieval Japan.

The surface treatments of Bizen wares are entirely dependent on yohen, or "kiln effects." Pine ash produces goma, or "sesame seed" glaze spotting. Rice straw wrapped around pieces creates red and brown scorch marks. The placement of pieces in a kiln causes them to be fired under different conditions, with a variety of different results. Considering that one clay body and type of firing is used, the variety of results is remarkable. Because of the clay composition, Bizen wares are fired slowly over a long period of time. Firings take place only once or twice a year. They require the wood fire to be kept burning for 10-14 days involving long hours and tons of wood.