The Kura - Japanese Art Treasures

Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.

Large and Fabulous Nishimura Shunko Bizen Shishi Okimono


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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1940: Item # 1408607

Please refer to our stock # TCR6982 when inquiring.
The Kura
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817-2 Kannonji Monzen-cho
Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 602-8385
tel.81-75-201-3497
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 $975.00 
A superb example of the mastery of Bizen Saiku-mono sculptures by Nishimura Shunko dating to the pre-war era. The musculature and bone structure of the creature is clearly visible, and it wears a cloak of ash glaze like fur, the tail actually covered in dry “goma” textured ash, and the lower extremities showing a fine assortment of Hi-iro flame colors on the raw clay. Stylistically there appears to be some influence of the pottery technique of Okinawan Shisa (lions). This is very likely, as the potteries of Kyushu and Okinawa held sway over the Mingei movement originating in the 1920s and 30s, when Shunko was at the peak of his abilities. The beast is roughly 10 inches (25 cm) tall and in excellent condition. It is signed Shunko Saku (Made by Shunko) inside the hollow body followed by the artists double mountain kiln symbol.
Nishimura Shunko (Yasujiro, 1886-1953) was, along with Kaneshige Toyo and Mimura Tokei one of the three pillars of Bizen pottery during the first half of the 20th century, and one credited with saving it from extinction. Born in Kyoto, he studied Japanese Painting before moving to study Awata Yaki pottery techniques under Aoyama Shunko (from whom he received his name) and then under the first Suwa Sozan. He moved to Inbe (Okayama Prefecture, home of Bizen) in 1909, where he established a kiln and became known for saiku-mono or ceramic sculptures. His genius was quickly recognized, and his works were collected by the Imperial family and given as gifts to foreign dignitaries. He served as a ceramics instructor for two years in Korea during the Taisho period. He also taught potters like Urakami Zenji (1914-2006). He was named a bearer of intangible cultural properties for his lifes work in 1942. Several works by him are held in the Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art.