Japanese and Korean Ceramics
Eric Zetterquist announces an exhibition of Japanese and Korean ceramics for autumn, 2022.
The Japanese section spotlights excellent and rare examples of several important kiln-types, starting with an unusually large Jomon ritual food container dating to 3500-2500 BC, noted for the modern-looking plasticity of its modeling and monumental presence. A 6th century AD Sueki jar with streaming ash glaze and combed design, directly rooted in Korean Silla ware traditions, forges the connection between Japan and Korea, which was intertwined for centuries.
Medieval stonewares from Bizen, Tokoname and Mino kilns illustrate their continued use in the Japanese tea ceremony. Most notably, a black Oribe Kutsugata-form tea bowl, formerly owned and inscribed by an Omotosenke school grand master, is decorated with a repeated “chikiri” pattern and dates from the early 17th century.
Japanese porcelains are represented by important works of two different types. A Nabeshima type plate with an oft-published pattern of baskets and flowers is an extremely fine example of this rare type of overglaze enameled wares, originally produced by the feudal Lord Nabeshima who called on the highest level technology and craftsmen for porcelain tributes for the Shogun in Edo. There is also a large Aode Kokutani-type charger depicting vividly depicted scholar-in-landscape cartuche and military fans amongst foliage, as well as a smaller Aode Kokutani square plate with a rare and charming depiction of a tiger.
A group of Korean Koryo Dynasty celadons is highlighted with a large rectangular tile with inlaid decoration of birds and foliage, one of only three such pieces known in the United States.
The exhibition begins on September 15th, 2022, and is open by appointment only. Please visit www.Zetterquist.com for further information.
Edo Period, 1690-1740 Japan
A porcelain plate with slightly flared mouth-rim sitting on a straight raised foot. The interior is decorated with a polychrome depiction of two jars in a basket with branches of camellias and narcissus in underglaze blue with overglaze enameled red, yellow and green. The rim is decorated with a band of interlocking ruyi clouds. The back is decorated with coins tied with tassels and the raised foot-rim with a comb-tooth decoration. With a fitted wooden box.
Nabeshima ware was originally produced in Hizen Province, )Now Saga Prefecture), as tribute from the Feudal Lord Nabeshima to the Shogun in Edo. They represented the highest level of techinical and artistic achievement in Japanese porcelain of the time.
Matching pieces have been published in “Les Cadeaux au Shogun; Porcelaine Precieuse des Seigneurs de Nabeshima” Asahi Shinbun 1997, pl. 79. Also in “Nabeshima; From Earliest to Latest Periods” Tokyo, 2011. pl. 92. Imazaizumi Motosuke, “Nabeshima, Famous Ceramics of Japan 1” Kodansha 1981, Pl. 37. and “Nabeshima to Matsugatani” Yuzankaku, Tokoy 1969. pl. 115.
A piece with the same decoration sold at Christie’s, NY in March, 2000.
From a private Japanese collection
Koryo Dynasty, 12th c. Korea
Width: 31.7cm x Height 22.8cm
A thin stoneware rectangular tile with a floral and bird decoration inlaid with white slip and iron oxide black details. The piece has a long crack, from top to bottom, with an old lacquer repair.
Koryo Dynasty inlaid celadon tiles are exceedingly rare outside of Korea. They are almost exclusively found in Buddhist temple excavations, indicating that their use was reserved for this purpose. They are often found cracked due to their extreme thinness.
In a wood and glass viewing case.
The most similar example is in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, acquired in 1933. Another is in the Cleveland Museum of Art since 1918. The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka has a smaller example published in their 1992 “An Introduction to Koryo Celadon”, pl.80. A fourth example from the Korean National Museum is published in “Sekai Touji Zenshu”, Shogakukan Tokyo, 1978 Vol. 18, pl. 147.
From a private Japanese collection
Late Momoyama - Early Edo Period, early 17th c. Japan
Diameter: 14 cm
A “Kutsugata” (shoe-shaped) stoneware teabowl covered with a rich, unctuous black glaze. The flattened front of the bowl is reserved in a finely crackled white slip with a clumping of seven circles encasing a geometric hourglass formed of two triangles joined at their points. (This design is based on “chikiri”; winding the warp on a loom). The glaze stops well short of the foot, a flattened donut shape, slightly off center on the broadly conical bottom. The unglazed bottom reveals of brown stoneware clay body. The bottom of the bowl has been inscribed in dark red by the 13th generation Omotesenke tea master Mujin Sousa “Sokuchusai” (1901-1979), who has also inscribed the box, “Yama no Ha” (Mountain’s Edge)
A similar piece, but with two larger ishidatami roundel decorations, is published in “Turning Point; Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan”. Metropoitan Museum of Art - Yale University Press 2003. Pl. 53
Mujin Sousa “Sokuchusai” (1901 - 1979)
Private Japanese Collection
Early Edo Period, Second Half of the 17th century, Japan
A large porcelain charger with five-color enamel decoration in blue, green, red, purple, and amber colors. Floating in a field of scrolling foliate decoration, there a “Military Fan” and cloud-shaped panel, bordered in amber. One is filled entirely with dark green enamel over a dense swastika pattern drawn in black. The other, held up by a purple-hued staff, is split in half, with a black wave pattern under green, and a blue and amber basket weave pattern. In the upper right quadrant, there is a square window, also outlined in amber, framing a delicately painted scene of a Chinese-style literati strolling in a white ground with a sheathed harp under his arm. To his right behind him are rocky outcrops colored purple, green, blue and amber. A tree with red leaves and amber trunk juts towards the center of the landscape, while green bushes sprout underneath. Cloud depictions float in the top of the field. Amber colored folding screens float in the background. The rim of the plate is glazed in a dark brownish purple color, to approximate a bronze rim. The backside is decorated with scrolling lotus flowers around the exterior walls, and double blue lines just above the foot. The center of the foot-well has a squared green seal set within double blue circles, and with indistinguishable black characters, (possibly mimicking the characters for “Fuku”, meaning “affluent longevity”. Ko-Kutani style porcelains are now believed to have been produced in Hizen, (Arita), for both export and domestic use. They represent a uniquely Japanese compositional style influenced by both painting and textiles. Condition: Interior with some surface scratching and small areas of enamel loss. Small hairline crack (about 6mm) at rim. Exterior with some surface scratching and small area of enamel loss.
This large, vividly decorated example is nearly identical, both in size and decoration, to an example in the Matsuoka Bijutsukan, which is published in their 1991 catalog “Masterpieces of Asian Ceramics”, pl. 154. Another example of similar size and decorative elements, but in different arrangement, is published in Jintsu Seigando’s 1989 exhibition catalog of Ko-Kutani type wares, pg. 16.