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Important Muromachi Iga (or Shigaraki) Chawan 15th century

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Tea Articles: Pre 1492: Item # 1301721

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The history of Japanese chawans should not be written without this 15th century Iga chawan. It was produced during the Muromachi Period, which was running from approximately 1337 to 1573.

So here is one of the best chawans from this era and one of the best available antique chawans in the world: a round wan-shaped bowl thrown on a hand wheel (thick bottom!) from a relatively fine light clay with very little ishihaze (exploding stones), very low content of iron oxide, some red discolouration and deep green drops (bidoro) from natural flying ash. The wide foot rim is very low and shaped as seen in Yamachawan of the Kamakura period.

To avoid that the bowl is fixed to the kiln board the potters used rice husks like in the Sanage kilns in the kamakura period (Arakawa Toyozo, 'The tradions and Techniques of Mino Pottery', in: Janet Barriskill, 'Visiting the Mino Kilns', Hawaii 1995). The box says Shigaraki, but the light cooler of the clay, the scarce ishihaze and especially the rice husks (which are found on Iga vases of the namazume type as late as the second half of the 16th century) makes me sure that it is actually an Iga bowl.

Iga ware comprises ceramic products made in the Iga City area of Mie Prefecture. Using local clay and traditional techniques, Iga ware carries a rich tradition that can be traced back to the Nara Period (710-794), featuring easy-to-hold shapes prized by tea masters and a natural, almost wild beauty actualized by the unique quality of the baked clay. Its beauty is one of a kind—untamed, shining and free.

The origins of Iga ware can be traced back some 1,200 years, when peasants in the area began to fire everyday items and agricultural tools. The quality of their products was so highly regarded at the time that there is a Nara Period record of Iga ware being offered to the prestigious Kotaijingu, one of the two primary buildings of the revered Ise-Jingu Shrine.

While production fell off in later years, during the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), a potter known as Jiro Dayu revived Iga ware, having such a profound effect that he is now regarded as the founder of its distinctive style.

During the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573–1603), with the flourishing of wabi-cha (literally, 'austere tea' — now known as tea ceremony), the unique and natural style of Iga ware grew in popularity. The fact that the military commanders of Iga Province (the western part of today’s Mie Prefecture) were also tea masters may also have had a strong influence on the development of the craft.

Size: 6,4 cm height x 14,1 cm in diameter.

The tea bowl was exhibited from May to Septemper 2011 at the famous Keramion Museum in Frechen, Germany. It is published in the great book 'Momoyama Keramik und ihr Einfluss auf die Gegenwart' (Momoyama ceramic and its influence until today), number 47, page 36, ISBN-978-3-94005-06-8. The book includes a foreword of the Japanese ambassador in Germany and is written in german and english. It is as well part of the offer as also the wood box with corner protections and the shifuku.

Shipping included.