Another stunning and important cultural highlight of our collection: distorted shoe shaped (kutsugata) tea bowl made of light, fine, unrefined Mino clay. Shape and style make it appear contemporary with the late Oribe bowls.
The expertly thrown body is covered with the typical black oniita engobe inside and outside - with the exception of the bottom - applied with a brush sparing out a cross mark on one side and a kind of a window with a land scope in flying brush style (haboku) over which a white, feldspatic Shino glaze has been poured.
Just the foot ring and its immediate surrounding were left unglazed.
The somewhat irregular foot is typical for the late production of the 1620ies at the Motoyashiki and Kamagane kilns. Within the foot ring is a kiln mark.
The bowl has a beautiful shape and is well balanced.
Tea bowls and other tea related items with decoration of a Christian cross are known, BUT ARE VERY VERY RARE - chiefly for the reason that Christian religion became prohibited in the early Edo Period (1614 - the year in which Oribe pupil Takayama Ukon was expelled from Japan) and the prohibition was rigorously enforced (especially after the Shimbara rebellion in 1637) with death penalty - CONSEQUENTLY ALL EXISTING PEACES WERE DESTROYED.
Considering this political environment, the bowl was surely manufactured before 1614.
Beside our chawan there is another known tea bowl with cross design, which is exhibited in the Nanban Bunkakan Museum in Osaka, please refer to picture 12.
For further information please read the book 'Turning Point - Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan', The Metropolitan Museum of Arts New York, Yale University Press New Haven and London.
Size: 7,8 cm height x 13,6 cm in diameter