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An interesting and well-shaped tea bowl, this Meiji piece surely has stories to tell. The gold repairs traversing one side of the bowl are extensive and skillfully applied, nicely complimenting the dark ferrous clay and flaxen glaze. Many find such repairs quite attractive and in this case they clearly add an extra dimension to this lovely work.
Stemming from the philosophy of wabi-sabi, or, beauty in the imperfect, cracks and repairs in a work of pottery are often seen as highlighting the history of the object and are thus celebrated as such. Practitioners of tea in particular are fond of reminding us that works such as the one featured here with kintsugi applied to them become more resilient and more beautiful for having been damaged.
The creator of this chawan, Ryokichi Murase, was son of accomplished Raku specialist Biko Murase (1828 - 1896). Their kiln was located in Nagoya and according to rumors of the time, a chawan made by the Murase’s had the power to mend all misfortunes. Their wares are generally known as Fujimi-yaki and come in a number of styles including Raku, Kourai, Nanban, and the occasional Sometsuke piece. Today you rarely see works by these two potters and collectors delight in the discovery of one—especially one of this quality.
In fine antique condition, this piece measure 4.8 inches in diameter (12.1 cm) and stands 2.1 inches tall (5.3 cm). It comes with a fitted wooden box and a protective silk pouch (shifuku). In addition, it bears the mark of the potter on the base near the kodai and is decorated with a parable from the teachings of 13th century founder of the Soto sect of Zen, Dogen Eihei.