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A Tenryuji Celadon Koro titled Seiji Rakushiki Koro wrapped in a crepe-silk bag painted by Literati Master Tomioka Tessai and enclosed in a wooden box, both titled Seiji Rakushiki Koro. The crisp green body is surmounted by a silver lattice Hoya. It is 4 inches (10.5 cm) diameter and in excellent condition. Inside the box lid is written: “Seiji Rakushiki Koro,
Master of the Wooden Momkey Studio,
Beloved Singular Incense Burner
One day I visited and was shown
Chimoku the elder Zen Priest…
…Passed down Tenryuji Celadon, the lid made by a master.
This heavenly work, singular, laudable, lovable.”
Tomioka Tessai (1837-1924) was a scholar artist trained from age seven in the traditional Confucian manner. After the death of his father he was apprenticed to a Shinto shrine, and later was forced to escape the capitol to Kyushu to avoid arrest for anti-governmental actions he had taken on part of the Imperial cause. Here he began serious study of Literati painting and furthered his scholarly research. Upon returning to Kyoto he was befriended by and moved to work under Otagaki Rengetsu, from whom he was heavily influenced. He helped to establish the Nihon Nanga-In and held a number of important positions, culminating in being appointed the official painter of the Emperor and a member of the Imperial Art Academy; the highest honor in Japanese Art circles. He is represented in innumerable important collections. Information on this important person is readily available, for more see Scholar Painters of Japan by Cahill (1972), Roberts Dictionary, or a quick internet search will find plenty of reading. He is held in the Tokyo National Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Kyoto, V&A etc…