A wonderful translucent blue celadon vase decorated with a low-relief vine and grape motif. This piece was made by one of the few great female Japanese potters of the 20th century—Suwa Sozan II, daughter of Meiji Imperial Court Artist Sozan I.
Suwa Sozan I (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-zaka 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.
Sozan II (1890 - 1977) was Sozan I’s niece (Torako) who he adopted as his own daughter at a very young age. Faithfully teaching her the family trade, Torako assumed the artist’s name Sozan and took over the family potting studio after the passing of her father in 1922. Like her father before her, her works were greatly admired by the royal family for their grace and and fine artistry. Over the years many have commented that while her works are technically and artistically on par with her father’s, they also can be seen to display a feminine delicacy that is not often seen in the former Sozan’s body of work.
In excellent condition, this piece is 7.1 inches in diameter (18 cm) and stands 12.2 inches tall (31 cm). It comes with its original box bearing the artists signature and seal and the piece itself also bears Sozan II’s seal. In addition, the vase comes wrapped in its original protective cloth.