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Large Aka-raku style chawan with excellent modeling and spatula work with a perfect, small kodai on which the bowl balances giving it a wonderful lift upward. Measuring in at 13.5 x 9.5 centimeters, this chawan has an exceptional posture and balance, feeling great in the hand and appearing larger than the dimensions would indicate. The surface has a wonderful complexity to it, like mist on a pond with the color coming out to greet the viewer with rich, dark black carburized spots punctuating the piece here and there inside and out. The lip and foot are well conceived and attended to as the maker, Heinai II is arguably considered one of the top Raku makers of the 20th century and well known in Japan for his chadogu. This chawan is in excellent, unused condition, is prominently sealed with his personal seal and comes complete with its original signed box. Simply put, this is an exceptional Raku chawan.
Though not well known outside of Japan, Konishi Heinai II worked creating both masterful Shigaraki and Raku chadogu and was featured in the exhibition; MODERN JAPANESE CERAMICS IN AMERICAN COLLECTION hosted by the Japan Society in New York. Konishi Heinai II works are highly sought after and his prices range around 2 million yen for his raku chawan. You can find a bit more about this potter on my pottery blog; I, POTTER but here is a recent post regarding an Aka-Raku chawan;
"I have written about Konishi Heinai II previously who is known for his rather idiosyncratic Shigaraki and Raku wares of which this chawan is a classic and dynamic example. Though Konishi was not part of the Raku family tradition and rarely identified his pieces as such, this evocative chawan was produced using the nearly four century old Raku process where a pot is glazed and then plucked out of the kiln at a fairly low temperature. The rather interesting thing about Heinai's works is that since he is not bound by any strict convention and spent time with another "unconventional" potter, Kawakita Handeishi, his pots have a uniqueness and individuality about them that certainly makes his pots stand out among other chadogu makers. Though well known for what one would or could classify as aka-raku and kuro-raku, it is his less conventional Raku pieces that have quite a bit to say and even more to contemplate as these pieces display a vision intent on its own voice. This particular surface paints an alluring landscape that reminds me of a combination of the Taisho-Showa Nihonga painters infused with a strong dose of the 20th century abstract expressionists, a blend that works well to compliment the rather sturdy and purposeful form. Over the years I have handled and seen a number of Raku (and Shigaraki) pieces by Konishi Heinai II and I am never disappointed with the imaginative, lustrous and thought provoking surfaces that he has plied to his three dimensional canvases."