This brilliant Tenmoku chawan displays gold and flaxen hues interspersed with dark ash glaze. The piece rests upon an unglazed clay pedestal showing the iron-rich clay the bowl is formed from.
Shodai-ware has a long and storied history stretching back as far as the Nara (710 - 794) and Heian (794 - 1192 ) periods. Pieces made in this pottery tradition have a very distinctive look that comes from the iron-rich clay of Kumamoto and the distinctive ash glazes that are used that give these pieces a deep rich luster of gold, blue, amber, and purple hues.
The tradition nearly died out during late Edo and early Meiji but was rekindled by a handful of dedicated potters in Taisho and Showa; foremost among them the grandfather of the current Jitaro Chikashige.
Today there are 12 remaining Shodai kilns, all of which sign their pieces “小代” (Shodai) to show their unity in protecting this ancient and unique Mingei tradition of pottery.
This piece is 6 inches in diameter (15.2cm) and stands 2.4 inches tall (6cm). The bowl is signed “Shodai” by the artist and comes with a signed tomobako and yellow cloth bearing the artist’s seal.