From our family collection of Japanese art from Living National Treasures:
Perfectly shaped Bizen Chawan from legendary Toyo Kaneshige (1896 - 1967). It was made 55 years ago and is in absolutely great condition.
Born into the Kaneshige family, one of the six kilns of Bizen, as the son of wakigama-style potter Kaneshige Baiyo, Toyo was trained by his father from early childhood and became adept at pottery techniques, with handicrafts and engraved ornaments being his particular specialty. He further devoted himself to the study of kiln construction. In 1921, he built a German-style map kiln, allowing him to successfully fire kiln-effect pottery (yohen-mono). He went on to study pottery clay as well, successfully recreating the sheen of Momoyama-period Bizen pottery in 1930. In 1939, he also succeeded in firing scarlet-stroke (hidasuki) kiln-effect pottery. In this way, he devoted himself to the restoration of traditional Bizen pottery and became the founder of modern Bizen pottery.
Also in this period, he held his first solo exhibition in 1936; founded the "Karahine Society" together with Arakawa Toyozo, Miwa Kyuwa, and Kawakita Handeishi in 1942; was certified as an Authorized Preserver of a Craft also in 1942; was selected as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 1952; founded the Tori Society in Tori, Izusan, together with Ishiguro Munemaro, Kato Hajime, Arakawa Toyozo, and Kato Tokuro in 1954; and was certified as an Important Intangible Cultural Heritage (Living National Treasure) for his Bizen pottery in 1956.
Our Bizen Chawan comes with a special wooden box with the signed and sealed appraisal and attestation of another Bizen Superstar, Living National Treasure TOSHU YAMAMOTO (1906-1994).
On the back side of the wooden lid is written: "Tea bowl with BUNDO seal (One of the most popular TOYO KANESHIGE seal) made by my great teacher TOYO KANESHIGE. Appraised by CHOKA-AN TOSHU (TOSHU YAMAMOTO)".
Whenever TOSHU YAMAMOTO made appraisals for another great potter of BIZEN ware, he identified himself as "CHOKA-AN, TOSHU 潮香庵陶秀".
After graduating from elementary school, Toshu Yamamoto began pottery in 1921 as a Bizen-ware pottery apprentice, then in 1933 he started his own independent kiln. In 1938 he became a student of Kusube Yaichi and trained in modeling and handling of the potter’s wheel.
In 1939 he won the Excellence Award at the Art Crafts Exhibition of Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu Regions, and in 1948 he was certified as a preserver of his characteristic technique which was based on the potter’s wheel technique he learned from Yaichi, and had an added feeling of speed and sharpness.
In 1954 he was recognized as a holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property from Okayama Prefecture and has also been selected as a member of the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition every year since 1955. He was appointed as a regular member in 1959 and won the Grand Prix of the Brussels Expo in the same year.
In addition, he won multiple prizes such as the Okayama Prefectural Cultural Prize in 1972, Sanyo Shimbun Cultural Award and the Miki Memorial Award in 1975, Bizen City Achievement Award and the Purple Ribbon Medal in 1976, Mainichi Art Award in 1977, the Dark‐blue Ribbon Medal in 1981, the Order of the Sacred Treasure (4th class) in 1982. After his history of prizes awarded, in 1987 he was certified as a living national treasure for Bizen-ware, third in line after Kaneshige Toyo and Fujiwara Kei.
As mentioned above, with regard to his potter’s wheel technique, he has a skill that can be said to be among the best of the generations of Bizen-ware artists. In his expertise in antique ceramics as well, he has contributed pieces overflowing with the elegance and deeply noble quality of traditional unglazed ceramics, especially tea caddies, tea bowls, mizuzashi (cold water container).
Size: 8 cm height x 12 cm in diameter.