Fine Japanese art and tea implements

An Earthy Han-tsutsu Chawan by Asao Sosen

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Tea Articles: Pre 1940: Item # 1304429

Please refer to our stock # TRC1540 when inquiring.
Kyoto Ceramics and Fine Art
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Kamigamo District
Kyoto, Japan

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Looking as though it were cast from molten rock, this chawan has a very earthy and primal feel to it. The rich clay shows through in places hinting of ochre, yellow, and even a subtle metallic blue—cleverly mimicking the way mineral formations appear in nature. The uneven texture and pitting of the glaze serve to enhance this effect.

The artist, Asao Sosen (1897 - 1978), was known for making chagama furo (Japanese ornamental brazier used in tea ceremony) as well as “Unge” stoneware of various forms. Unge-ware uses a technique where black and grey ash glazes are applied during firing to give works made in this way a cloudy appearance. Unge originated in the Fukakusa area of Fushimi—a suburb of Kyoto proper. Examples of Sosen’s work are held by The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.

Judging by the tomobako and the patina of the bowl, this piece was likely fired in early Showa (1926 - 1936) when Sosen was thought to be most active. The chawan is 4.5 inches in diameter (11.5cm) and stands 3.2 inches tall (8cm). It is in fine condition, comes wrapped in a white cloth, and has its own tomobako bearing the artist’s signatrure. In addition, the characters 宗筅 (Sosen) can be observed etched into the base of the bowl. Finally, the piece comes with an insert in Japanese detailing the Fukakusa kiln and a 3-page hand-written letter on fine washi lining the bottom of the tomobako.