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This chawan was made by the 8th generation Ohi Chozaemon (1851-1927) based in Kanazawa and is done in a style known as “ameyu” or candy glazing. The glazing is a wonderful example of ameyu and, in fact, approximates the color of a caramel candied-apple. The interesting color scheme and glossy sheen make it an attractive backdrop for a frothy bowl of dark green matcha. While some tea bowls may look best in the confines of a dimly lit tea room, this bowl looks much better in bright light. In a darker atmosphere it appears less red and more caramel.
When the founder of the Urasenke style of tea ceremony, Sen-So Soshitsu (1622 -1697) was invited to Kanazawa as the lord of the tea ceremony for the powerful Kaga lords in 1666, the first Chozaemon came with him and established Ohi-yaki ware in Kanazawa. Chozaemon had been the chief apprentice for the Raku family in Kyoto and took with him many of the principles and ideas associated with Raku-ware. Since those auspicious beginnings, Ohi-ware has held a high place in the world of tea ceremony despite this tradition of pottery almost dying out on several occasions.
One such occasions was in late Edo when the Ohi’s lost favor and support from the Kaga rulers. As a result, the son of the 7th Ohi potter decided he could no longer cary on the family tradition and sought other means to support the family. Therefore, the title was passed to the chief apprentice of the 7th Ohi , Rikichi Nara, who then became Ohi the 8th. Apart from being a skilled potter, Rikichi was also a tea-master who had strong connections with Urasenke and a number of influential temples. For his tireless efforts to save the Ohi line and for his unmatched skill as a potter, he received the honor of having many of his boxes signed by the Urasenke Grand tea maseter Ennousai (1872ー1924).
This piece is 5.2 inches in diameter at the rim (13.1 cm) and stands 2.6 inches tall (6.6 cm). It bears the artist’s seal in the center of the kodai and comes with its original tomobako which is also signed by Ohi the 8th and bears his seal. The piece is in fine condition and comes wrapped in a protective cloth. The Chinese writing on the outside of the bowl appears to be a poem by the poet/monk Otani Kubutsu (Koen) though at the time of this writing only parts can be deciphered.