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A porcelain Sake set by important Meiji potter Takahashi Dohachi with calligraphy and painting decoration by important painter Tanomura Chokunyu. A willow drapes its freshly clad limbs over the water, sheltering the loan boatman dozing as his line lies slack in the warm spring air. The flask was made to hold sake (rice wine) while the bowl would have been filled with water, for washing the cup between drinks. Each is marked on the base Dohachi, and signed Chokunyu Dojin after the verse.
Tanomura Chokunyu (1814-1907) was born in Oita (the Oka Feif) and studied initially under Okamoto Baisetsu before moving to paint under the famous literatus Tanomura Chikuden (1777-1835), who adopted him as a son and had a very strong influence on the young artist. Upon Chikudens death he also studied briefly under Oshio Chusai (1792-1837) then finally ventured out on his own upon that teachers passing. He moved to Kyoto, where he helped found the Kyoto Municipal School of painting and eventually withdrew from the world, becoming an Obaku Zen Monk in 1902.
The Dohachi Kiln was established in Awataguchi by the retainer of Kameyama fief, Dohachi I around 1760, and the name Dohachi was brought to the forefront of porcelain by the second generation head of the family who attained an imperial following, and grew to be one of the most famous potters of the Later Edo period to come from Kyoto. He moved the kiln to the Gojo-zaka area (at the foot of Kiyomizu temple) in 1814 And was well known for research into and perfection of ancient Chinese and Korean forms long held in high esteem in Japan, and at the same time worked to expand the family reputation within tea circles. The fifth generation (1869-1914, took the reins in 1897) was an adamant adherent to the literati lifestyle and produced joint works with artists such as Chokunyu and Tessai among others. The combination of works by Chokunyu and Dohachi are credited with bringing the popularity of Sencha green tea to the forefront in the Meiji era (see Tea of the Sages: the Art of Sencha by Patricia Jane Graham).