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Gosu Blue Mingei Vase by Kanjiro Kawai


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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1960: Item # 735110

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Here is an amazing vase by the most sought after of all Japanese potters, Kawai Kanjiro dating from the 1940s, enclosed in a fine kiri box endorsed by the Kawai Kanjiro Museum. The box is signed Kanjiro Saku, Gosu Hana-ire Hentsubo, Kawai Koha (Made by Kawai Kanjiro, a Gosu blue flower vase of altered urn shape, endorsed by Kawai Koha. Koha is Kanjiros daughter, and the current head of the Kawai Kanjiro Museum. The stately composure of its dramatic silhouette is surpassed only by the striking flashes of color dashed across the blue surface. Subtle yet seeming to speak of an excess of energy, the vase epitomizes work by this preeminent artist. The trapezoidal base rises to an elongated ovular center, from which extends a sharpened angular mouth. It is difficult to describe the power of this piece; one must hold it to truly appreciate the brilliance of its artistry. The vase is 8 inches (21 cm) tall, 5-1/2 by 4-1/2 inches (11 x 14 cm) across and is in perfect condition. Kanjiro was a true artist by nature, and together with Hamada Shoji, set a pattern of study for modern potters. After graduating the Tokyo School of Industrial Design, he came to study in Kyoto, eventually establishing his own kiln on the Gojo-no-Saka (It remains standing today and is a must see for anyone visiting Kyoto). Together with compatriots Hamada Shoji and Bernard Leach (with whom he traveled throughout Asia) established the modern Mingei movement in ceramics, the most influential ceramics movement in the 20th century. His research on glazes (of which he developed thousands over a lifetime of work) remains influential as well. Refusing to be limited to ceramics, Kanjiro also worked in bronze, wood and paint. An interesting final note on this unusual artist, when offered the title of Living National Treasure, an honor bestowed on very few, he declined.