A wild boar kōgo by famous Kyoto potter Imai Masayuki 今井政之 (b. 1930). Decoration is a stylized version of the ancient Chinese character for wild boar. Masayuki used his famous inlaid colored clay technique in producing this piece. Imai Masayuki and the late Miyashita Zenji are considered the two masters of the colored clay technique in Japan.
Title: Inlaid Zodiac Wild Boar Incense Container (Zōgan kanshi i kōgo 象嵌干支亥香盒)
Colored and inlaid stoneware, 3.8 cm high and 7.1 cm in diameter. Signature on the bottom of the piece: Masayuki (政之). Heisei Period, made for the year of the wild boar, 1982. Condition: Excellent; minor imperfections from firing.
Comes in an original signed box (tomobako), potter’s sealed cloth and potter’s biography.
Tomobako inscription: Inlaid Zodiac Wild Boar Incense Container (Zōgan kanshi i kōgo 象嵌干支亥香盒); signed: Masayuki (政之); red seal Masayuki (政之).
Animal zodiac pieces are essential in the Japanese tea ceremony, for it is auspicious to use corresponding animal utensil either during the New Year festivities, or during that whole year. They can also be used to please guests (their birth animal) or for other symbolisms; in case of the wild boar— honesty and sincerity.
Imai Masayuki 今井政之 (b. 1930) was born in Osaka, and had studied pottery under 楠部彌弌 Kusube Yaichi (1897-1984) in Kyoto, where he made his home after finishing his studies. He is often seen at various ceramic and craft exhibits in Japan, including Nitten, where he received the Hokuto Award. He won the prestigious Japan Ceramic Society award in 1965, as well as the grand prize at International Biennale of Contemporary Ceramics. He was awarded Order of Culture in November of 2018, one of the most prestigious awards bestowed by Japanese Government, along with being designated a Living National Treasure (Holder of Intangible Cultural Properties). He is featured in numerous books in English and Japanese.