Attractive design, refined form, sensational glazing—this yuteki chawan by Morikazu Kimura would make a fine addition to any collection of Japanese contemporary ceramics.
Born in Kyoto in 1921, Morikazu Kimura took up the family tradition of potting from a very young age and spent much of his time researching and perfecting the Tenmoku style. In 1947 at the age of 26 he set up his own kiln in the exclusive potting district of Gojo-zaka and achieved much success. Later, in 1976, he moved to Fukui and opened another studio. During his long and distinguished career, Morikazu has received a number of awards for his excellence in potting and his works are held by the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art and the Imperial Household to name a few.
The term Tenmoku comes from bowls that were produced at temples near Mt Tienmu in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). These bowls were highly prized in Japan and a great many were imported for use in tea ceremony. Later, Japanese potters began to copy this style—of which two types are most prominent—“yohen” and “yuteki.” Yuteki or “oil spot” glazing, which Morikazu is well-known for, is one of the most difficult glazing techniques in Japanese pottery and requires precision in the application of the glaze, in the firing conditions used, and in the cooling process employed. Only very experienced and skilled potters can produce these works with good results.
In excellent condition, this piece is 4.4 inches in diameter (11.1 cm) and stands 3.5 inches tall (8.9 cm). The bowl bears the artist’s seal on the base of the kodai, comes with its original signed and stamped tomobako and a protective cloth which also bears Kimura’s seal, and includes an insert detailing Kimura's career as a potter.