This handmade Akae(1) Sarasa(2) patterned tea bowl was produced by mid-career Kutani ware ceramic artist Yoko Hasatani. It has elegant colored patterns and delicate craquelure in the glaze on the surface.
Diameter: 113 mm / 4.4 inches
Height: 70 mm / 2.8 inches
Weight: 184 grams / 6.5 oz
The body of this tea bowl was produced by a potter in Kyoto of highest grade Ninsei(3) Clay dug in Shigaraki(4). The bowl turned light (or pale) yellow as it was fired in an oxidization firing atmosphere. Experts say that Chonoyu (tea ceremony) masters of the 17th century liked this type of yellow tea bowl made of Ninsei Clay. Ninsei style tea bowls remain popular today among Chanoyu lovers, which are produced by potters of Kyo ware, Kiyomizu ware and Kutani ware.
After obtaining the ceramic bowl from Kyoto, Hasatani processed it as follows: paint Sarasa patterns in red using a thin paintbrush and fire the tea bowl at 650 degrees Celsius, paint patterns in blue and green and fire the bowl at 750 degrees Celsius, and finally paint patterns in gold and fire it at 650 degrees Celsius.
Hasatani likes to investigate old textile patterns and creates original Sarasa patterns for her ceramic works.
Hasatani’s signature is inscribed on the bottom of the bowl. Her signature is the first Chinese character of her first name, Yoko (庸子).
Yoko Hasatani graduated from the Ishikawa Prefectural Kutani Ware Technical Training Institute in 2007. She was apprenticed to Buzan Fukushima, a prominent artist specializing in Kutani’s detailed painting by hand (called Saibyo in Japanese). She remains a pupil of Fukushima. She was certified as a Traditional Craftsman by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2018.
She won the highest award at the Hokkoku Female Artists’ Exhibition in 2011, the Encouragement Prize at the Traditional Kutani Ware Exhibition in 2013, the Promotion Award at the National Traditional Craft Exhibition sponsored by the Association of Craft Industry in 2013, the President Award at the National Traditional Craft Exhibition sponsored by the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2018, the Ishikawa Prefectural Traditional Industry’s Excellent Craftsman Award in 2018, and Kanazawa City’s Manufacturing Japan Encouragement Prize in 2018.
(1) Akae are ceramic works painted in red. Aka means red in Japanese.
(2) Sarasa is a textile product (a cotton cloth) which was originally produced in India, Java (current Indonesia) and Persia (current Iran). It was introduced to Japan in the 13th century. Sarasa patterns represent human figures, plants and flowers, and birds and beasts. They are often used as patterns of kimonos and ceramic works.
(3) Ninsei is the first name of Ninsei Nonomura, a Japanese potter of the 17th century. He launched his kiln in about 1650 in Kyoto and produced pottery used for Chanoyu tea ceremonies. He later established the Iroe Pottery (pottery colored with pigments) of Kyoto. Two of his works are registered as Japan National Treasures, and 20 of his works are Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
(4) Shigaraki is one of the six major sites where ceramic works have been produced since the 13th century. There is an excellent bed of clays in the geological formations of the Shigaraki region. The region still produces excellent clays for the ceramics industry.