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Momoyama Period Echizen Chawan


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Tea Articles: Pre 1700: Item # 1456972

Please refer to our stock # 0524 when inquiring.
Momoyama Gallery
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We are proud to offer you a really rare antique piece of art and one of a kind: wonderful Echizen Chawan from the Momoyama Era (安土桃山時代 Azuchi Momoyama jidai; 1573–1603) without any crack, damage or repair.

There is no similar item on the antique market.

Echizen ware (called Echizen yaki in Japanese) is a type of pottery produced in the town of Echizen, Fukui prefecture. This traditional handicraft comes from one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan which along with Bizen, Tamba, Tokoname, Seto, and Shigaraki, are the most outstanding Japanese kilns with traditions that remain even today.

These ancient kilns began production from the Heian period (794-1185) to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Echizen ware is notable for being fired without the use of enamel and pieces are often not decorated either, resulting in a simple texture. One of the appeals of Echizen ware is its natural glaze that comes from firewood ash covering and dissolving into the pieces as they are baked at a high temperature. Therefore the pieces are a form of earthenware between pottery and porcelain, also called yakishime or semi-porcelain.

The chawan (height 9 cm, width 12,5 cm) was made in the typical hand built style similar to Raku. This gives the chawan its soft, uneven curves, which makes it fit well in the hands. The glaze reminds of the famous Chojiro glaze - dull, rough, underfired with earth color inclusions.

It represents completely the japanese aesthetic philosophy of wabi sabi. In a few words, one could say that wabi sabi is the beauty of imperfect things. Of course, that would be overly simplistic explanation for such a deep and profoundly rooted notion in the Japanese spirit. Something between an artistic concept, a philosophy of life and a personal feeling, wabi sabi is everywhere in Japanese culture.

In Japan, wabi sabi is imperceptible but everywhere: a crack on a teapot, the wood of an old door, green moss on a rock, a misty landscape, a distorted cup or the reflection of the moon on a pond.

In Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence, Andrew Juniper defines wabi sabi as 'an intuitive appreciation of ephemeral beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world.'

Related to landscapes, objects and even human beings, the idea of wabi sabi can be understood as an appreciation of a beauty that is doomed to disappear, or even a ephemeral contemplation of something that becomes more beautiful as it ages, fades, and consequently acquires a new charm.

The term wabi sabi (侘寂) remains difficult to translate. For Japanese people, wabi sabi is a feeling, more than a concept, that can be found in classical Japanese aesthetics: flower arrangement, literature, philosophy, poetry, tea ceremony, Zen gardens, etc. Wabi sabi goes against contemporary over-consumption, but also encourages simplicity and authenticity in everything.

This notion of wabi sabi is a feeling that has certainly always been part of Japanese sensibility. Its origin can be found in the story of Sen no Rikyu, the sixteenth century Zen monk who theorised the tea ceremony as it is still practiced in contemporary Japan.

According to the legend, the young Rikyu, eager to learn the codes of the ancestral ritual of tea ceremony, went to find a recognized tea master named Takeeno Joo. The latter wanted to test the abilities of his new apprentice and asked him to take care of the garden. Rikyu cleaned it from top to bottom and raked it until it was perfect. However, before presenting his work to his master, he shook a cherry tree and sakura flowers fell on the ground. This touch of imperfection brought beauty to the scene and that is how the concept of wabi sabi was born.

Japanese wooden box included. Free shipping.