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A large Shinshoku Ware-tsubo eroded through natural processes during firing with a shattered rim attached to the body at the shoulder. This piece is a virtual textbook on Yohen firing effects. Tamadare, Shinshoku, koge and other effects are supplanted by a large white kutsuki on the front, all under the shadow of the shattered rim fused to the shoulder. It is roughly 10 inches (25 cm) tall, the same diameter enclosed in a fine kiri-wood box. To quote from Japanese Wood fired Ceramics, Ceramic pieces exposed to prolonged high temperatures and heavy ash deposit will begin to erode…as the erosion progresses, holes may appear in the ceramic pieces. This usually occurs just before major collapse. Here we see heavy erosion on the fire side of the piece, heavily coated in ash and deeply pitted. The Japanese aesthetic emphasizes asymmetry and an appreciation of the Natural forces. This aesthetic is best expressed with the respect shown towards accidents of firing, often highly appreciated for their unique qualities. Connoisseurs spend years searching for that one unpredictable piece, and it can become the focal point of a collection, most appropriate in the dark humble confines of a tea room.
Tsukigata Nahiko (1923-2006) was not only an accomplished ceramic artist, but also a painter, calligrapher, sculptor and musician. Born in Niigata prefecture, he was at Waseda University in 191 when he was summarily drafted into the Army. After the war he attended the Arts course of Nippon Daigaku University and was struck by the works of Living National Treasure Arakawa Toyozo, to whom he apprenticed in the arts of Shino and took his mentors work to a new level. Like all art, his was alive and always evolving. Starting with the replication and research of Momoyama techniques to the culmination of his efforts in Oni-shino, Nahiko has taken Shino beyond all others. It was not an eas road, for the first 15 years he worked for a ballet school, spent time as a recluse priest at Myoanji temple, and wandered the country playing the shakuhachi. It was a time of great change in Japan, starvation was rampant immediately after the war and supporting oneself through the little known art of Shino-yaki was difficult. However he perservered, along with Toyozo, Kato Juuemon, Kato Kohei and others, to bring Shino to the forefront of ceramic arts. Heavily prized domestically and abroad in his lifetime, his low output and unique quality make his work a must have for collectors.