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Superb Kenzan ware decorated with designs of overlapping fans depicting an early winter scene with a house gate by pine trees covered with a rice straw mat as well as Japanese old poems on the interior and with stylized Japanese pampas grass design on the four sides. Edo period. In the interior decoration dated "gen-bun ni-sai" means 1737. The winter scene depicted here shows a great ancestral wisdom has been performed since 17th century, where the rice straw mat called “komo-maki’ is used to protect pine trees from the harmful insects, which eats their leaves. When pine trees are covered by straw, those insects descend from the trees to spend in winter until spring comes. This wrap is removed in spring and to be burnt together with the insects. The covered pine trees were seen in Daimyo (Japanese feudal lord)’s garden in Edo period. This Kenzan piece exceptionally comes with double paulownia wood fitted boxes, of which one of them is urushi lacquered with finely inscribed with gold makie (gold lacquer) by Morikawa Joshun-an (1887-1980), who was a Japanese tea lover and a connoisseur of Ancient script. Another box has been inscribed by Bernard Leach, dated in 1966. The condition of this item is very fine with age associated insignificant abrasion (which rather shows a patina of history). The fitted boxes are also in excellent condition. It suggests that the piece has been very well respected.
Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743) was one of the representative Japanese potters and painter from mid Edo period, 18th century. He was born in Kyoto in a rich merchant family and was a younger brother of most influential painter and artist of his time, Ogata Korin (1658-1716). Kenzan studied pottery under Nonomura Ninsei (17th century), who was a father of Kyo–yaki (Kyoto pottery). He set up kilns for the production of ceramics in the early to mid-Edo period. Proficient in the art of ceramic design and decoration, he also invented a ware entitled Kenzan-yaki (Kenzzan ware).
Bernard Howell Leach (1887 -1979) was a British studio potter and art teacher. He is regarded as the "Father of British studio pottery”. He stayed in Japan during Meiji-Taisho period, from 1909 to 1920 and during that time, he studied pottery under 6th Ogata Kenzan. After return to England in 1920, he invented his original style fusing traditional Japanese style with western ceramics. He wrote a book about Ogata Kenzan in 1966 entitled Kenzan and his Tradition.
Size: 9 1/2” x 9 1/2” x 1 1/4” (24cm x 24cm x 3cm)