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This small vessel, similar in a shape to a tokkuri, is a fine example of Oni Shino (carbon trap and natural ash glazing) that Tsukigata is so well-known for. Coining the term in the mid-50’s after countless failed experiments—which ultimately culminated in the discovery of this unique style of pottery—“Oni” translates roughly to demon or ogre. Fired at extreme temperatures for days in an anagama, the iron in the clay and in the glaze fuse, drip, and coalesce—while at the same time blending with the molten ash of the kiln to produce an incredible almost primordial landscape on the ceramic surface.
Even in a field so ripe with memorable personalities, Tsukigata Nahiko (1923 - 2006) is considered an eccentric figure in the world of Japanese pottery. Like many of the greats, he was a multi-talented artist—accomplished in the pursuit of calligraphy, oil painting, sculpting, and his greatest love, the Shakuhachi. Unfortunately, his artistic pursuits were cut short during the war when he was drafted into the army to fight in WWII. After being released from service, he spent a number of years traveling the countryside playing the Shakuhachi, then working for a ballet school, and for a time practicing as a reclusive Zen priest at Myoanji temple. Finally, his creative spirit was rekindled by the fire of the potter’s kiln and this became his life's calling.
From the 1930s onward, there was a big push initiated by Arakawa Toyozo to resurrect the ancient art of Shino ceramics which had been lost for hundreds of years. In 1953, Tsukigata set up a kiln nearby Arakawa’s studio and, with some assistance and mentoring from the great artist, began producing works of Ko-Shino, Shino, Nezumi-Shino, and Aka-Shino. Finally Tsukigata settled on his unique style he called “Oni” Shino and began creating small batches of chawan, tsubo, hanaire, tokkuri, guinomi, and yunomi along with other miscellaneous pieces. Today these works are highly prized both domestically and abroad and should be considered a must-have addition to any comprehensive collection of Japanese ceramics.
This piece is 4.5 inches at its widest point (11.5 cm) and stands 6.9 inches tall (17.5 cm). It is in excellent condition and appears to have been produced within the last 20-30 years of Tsukigata’s life. The piece bears the artist’s signature on the base, and comes with a signed tomobako and a yellow cloth. Fully insured international shipping is included in the price.