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A Seto Ware Vase in the Art Nouveau Style: Shunji Kato

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1980: Item # 1109714

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A Seto Ware Vase in the Art Nouveau Style: Shunji Kato
Seto ware is classified as ‘Nihon Rokkoyo’or ‘Chuse Rokkoyo’—one of medieval Japan’s six traditionally recognized ceramic types, and it is the pottery associated with Aichi Prefecture. The elegant vase offered here represents a highly unusual marriage of the traditional Seto ware glaze and clay to an Art Nouveau form, an original work by the 2nd Shunji Kato (1892-1979). A native of Seto City, Shunji assumed his master’s name in 1926 and later produced wares for the Matsuo-ryu school of tea. In 1975 Shunji Kato was declared an Aichi Prefecture Intangible Cultural Property in recognition of his Seto wares. Most of Kato’s known work consists of items for the tea ceremony. This signed vase may pre-date his association with the Matsuo-ryu and was probably created in the early years of the 20th Century when the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau styles still held strong international appeal. With a flared neck and well-defined lip, the vase has a curved profile, the body divided into five vertically-oriented and slightly recessed panels where the traditional brown Seto glaze has artfully pulled away from the ribs to emphasize their elegant shape by revealing a contrasting reddish colored slip. The delicately speckled dark brown glaze stops naturally short of the slightly raised foot modeled in the traditional Asian style. The unglazed and recessed underside bears Shunji Kato’s distinctive incised signature. Height: 26cm (10”). Weight: .884Kg (1 lb. 15 ozs.). This is a superbly executed and elegant vase for the tokonoma or for any Arts & Crafts or Art Nouveau style interior. Copyright (c) 2011 by Robert McCaffrey for Ruyi Studio San Francisco. All Rights Reserved.


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