This finely crafted tripod incense burner is one of several often-employed motifs used by renowned Meiji/ Taisho ceramic artist Suwa Sozan I. With a design borrowed from ancient Chinese porcelain production, this piece displays horizontal bands on a field of luminous light-blue—contrasting nicely with the lid which is a dark varnished wood.
Suwa Sozan (1852—1922) was born in an area of what is known today as Ishikawa prefecture. After a short stint in the military he took up pottery design and painting under Touda Tokuji in 1873. From this point forward, he divided his time mainly between Kanazawa and Tokyo working at a number of kilns and research institutes. While in Tokyo, he made the acquaintance of famed conservator of Japanese art Ernest Francisco Fenollosa and the two became fast friends. In 1900 Sozan was invited to Kyoto to work at the Kinkozan kiln where he became noticed for his great skill in creating fine porcelain and celadon works. Several years later in 1907, he set up an independent porcelain and ceramics kiln on Gojo Saka in Kyoto where he specialized in making a variety of porcelain pieces, most noted of which were his fine powdery-blue celadon pieces modeled after classic Chinese forms as well as detailed porcelain statuettes.
In 1917, Sozan was awarded the title of Teishitsu Gigei-in or Imperial Court Artist—what could be considered a precursor to the modern day Ningen Kokuho or National Living Treasure. His porcelains and meticulously detailed statuettes are held in the Imperial Collection, in the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum, in the Sumitomo Collection, and in a number of private collections around the world.
This piece is 3.1 inches in diameter (8 cm) and stands 2.8 inches tall (7 cm). It bears the artist’s seal impressed into the base and comes with the original tomobako which bears Sozan’s signature and seal on the top of the lid. The piece is in very good condition however the wooden lid has contracted slightly on each side leaving a noticeable gap if not placed with care. Fully insured international shipping via EMS is included in the price.