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Mint Shino Chawan by greatest Matsuzaki Ken

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Directory: Artists: Ceramics: Pottery: Bowls: Contemporary: Item # 1346076

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Nothing I can say can convey the rugged beauty locked up of this Shino chawan, made in 2015, signed and enclosed in the original signed wooden box. Matsuzaki Ken is one of the most important potters of our time.

Ken Matsuzaki was born in Tokyo in 1950 and received a degree in Ceramic Art from Tamagawa University School of Fine Arts, Tokyo. After graduating he moved to Mashiko in 1972 to apprentice with Tatsuzo Shimaoka (who himself had moved to Mashiko to study with Shoji Hamada). After a five year apprenticeship, Matsuzaki established his own kiln, Yuushin Gama, down the road from Mr. Shimaoka. Matsuzaki's works have a strong grounding in the Mingei philosophy though his approach is very contemporary, introducing a focus on the Oribe style with yohen, shino, and oribe glazing.

During his college years, Matsuzaki made two important decisions: one was to earn his livelihood as a potter, and the second was to apprentice with Tatsuzo Shimaoka (1919-2007). Shimaoka was the second Living National Treasure of Mashiko, Japan, a town renowned for its pottery. Shoji Hamada (1894-1978), the rst Living National Treasure of Mashiko, established the town’s reputation and was Tatsuzo Shimaoka’s teacher. Matsuzaki could not have better aligned himself to advance in the realm of ceramics, and his ery passion was fueled. After training with Shimaoka for ve years, Matsuzaki began to work independently.

His work was heavily in uenced by the Mingei movement, which focuses on nding beauty in handmade utilitarian objects for daily use. This traditional aesthetic is signi cant in Japanese pottery, but also capable of muting originality for the individual artist.

Works by Matsuzaki have been accepted into the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art (Ohio), The Worcester Museum of Art (Massachusetts), the Tikotin Museum (Israel), the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).

Here is Matsuzaki Ken in his own words: 'Shino pottery, in its authentic style, has a scarlet color phenomena on its surface, somewhat like rouge brushed over white skin. This is one of the characteristics of Shino ware from the Momoyama period (1573-1603). Creating Shino in a gas kiln naturally limits the possibilities. The gas itself is the limiting factor. But I wanted to see how far I could take the possibility of making Shino pottery in a gas-fired atmosphere. So far, I have been able to make Shino in the Suou (ancient purple red) and Sien (light purple) styles.

For a long time I have wanted to challenge myself and to fire Shino ware in my climbing kiln, fired with wood. My climbing kiln has a very special form. Its first chamber has large fire mouths on both the right and left sides so that wood can be fed into the kiln from either side. It is as if the first chamber exists between these two fire mouths.

I have dreamed of making Shino pottery in the first chamber of this kiln for a long time. For the past seven years I have been firing other types of work in the youhen style and trying to find the appropriate temperature zone in that chamber for Shino ware. After long, long deliberate considerations, I decided to try firing Shino ware in my climbing kiln using all the experiences I had accumulated making the light purple Shino ware in the gas kiln. My climbing kiln is especially designed to make ash-covered youhen (literally meaning changed by the fire/flame) pottery. The Shino work fired in this climbing kiln will definitely be influenced by the way the kiln is fired. Therefore, I wanted to focus on creating my own youhen Shino rather than making typical Shino. In order to do so, I needed to make the most of my climbing kiln.

While I was loading the kiln and trying to place the work in a good place in order to get thatunique Shino, I couldn't help but feel uneasy. I couldn't stop worrying. During the firing I filled both fire mouths with a lot of wood as if to clear away my anxiety.

Anxiety........adding the wood.......anxiety.....adding more wood, this was repeated for seven days. I stopped the firing after confirming that the work near the fire mouths were well covered with ash. The only thing left to do was to wait and hope that the cooling of the first chamber would go well. And in fact, the firing went very well and I was able to finish it with great satisfaction and a refreshed feeling.' (statement found on

Size: 9 cm height x 11 cm in diameter.

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