A stunning pair of sake cups depicting monkeys by the famous Kutani potter Matsumoto Saiichi 松本佐一 (b. 1930), using his signature technique, porcelain with underglaze gold leaf.
Title: Sake Cups (sakazuki 坏)
Medium: porcelain with underglaze gold leaf and overglaze enamel
Size: Wider: 3.2 x 8.5 cm and Taller: 5.9 x 5.4 cm
Signature in enamel on the bottom of both pieces: Saiichi (佐一)
Date: Heisei Period, 2003 for 2004
Condition: no flaws: no cracks or repairs; minor imperfections from firing.
Comes in an original signed accompanying box (tomobako), potter sealed cloth and his biography.
Tomobako inscription: Lid- outside: Sake Cups (Sakazuki 坏), signed: Kutani Saiichi saku (Kutani, made by Saiichi 九谷佐一作), Red seal: Saiichi 佐一
Animal zodiac pieces are an essential presence in the Japanese tea ceremony and everyday life and a rendering of the current year’s animal of the zodiac is encountered in most Japanese homes and places of business. They can be posters, small prints, resin images and made of bamboo, wood, metal, or ceramic, among other materials.
It is auspicious to use corresponding animal utensil, or an okimono such as this one, either during the New Year festivities, or during that entire year. They can also be used to please guests (their birth animal).
Matsumoto Saichi (also romanized as Saiichi) was born in 1930. He hails from famous family of potters, his father Sahei and grandfather Sataro were well known Kutani potters. He graduated from Kanazawa Institute of Art, and afterwards spent some time studying at national Ceramics Research Institute in Kyoto. His work was first accepted in the Nitten in 1952, and the Tokyo Government purchased that piece. He was awarded the grand prize at the Nitten in 1985 and 1988. He exhibited, and won awards at Asahi Togei Ten Ceramic Exhibition, Kofukai-ten and Kutani Dento Togei exhibits. His work is in collections of the British Museum and Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, among others.