Miyagawa (Makuzu) Kozan, known for his exquisite porcelains, often turned his hand to Iga and here is a rare example complete with a silver lid enclosed in the original signed wooden box. In comparison to porcelains, Iga ware is one of the most stylistically foreign, yet has a place at the heart of Japanese pottery and tea culture. With Iga the emphasis on natural effects and the accidental is diametrically opposed to the usual exactitude in porcelain production and one may easily see where this might attract the artist. It is roughly 4 inches (10 cm) tall including the lid, and is in excellent condition. The box is titled (outside) Koro and (inside) Ko Iga-I and signed Makuzu Kozan Sei. Included is a receipt which states Kozan Saku Ko Iga Utsushi Koro purchased for 1 gold and 40 Yen by Kobayashi Takayoshi dated the 11th month of Showa 10 (1935).
The name Kozan was granted by Prince Yasui-no-Miya in 1851 in honor of the tea ware produced during the later Edo for the imperial Court by the tenth-generation head of the Kyoto pottery family Miyagawa Chozo. The Kozan (Makuzu) kiln as we know it today was established in Yokohama in 1871 by the 11th generation head of the family where he reinvented the family business. He immediately set out on a journey which would propel the Kozan name to International Celebrity status, and send his wares throughout the globe. Pieces produced there were marked Kozan, or Makuzu, the official kiln name, or both. Although he had been running the daily operation since the late 19th century, the first son, Hanzan, succeeded as head of the kiln, in 1912, with the father officially retiring to spend more time on his own research and art. Kozan I dies in 1916. The kiln was run by Hanzan through the early Showa era, he officially taking the name Kozan II in 1917, after one year mourning for his fathers passing. Under Hanzan the kiln was commissioned for works to be presented to the Prince of Wales, the 25th wedding anniversary gift for the Taisho emperor and the Showa Emperors coronation gift. The kiln was completely destroyed in the bombing of Yokohama in 1945. For more on this illustrious family see Bridging East and West, Japanese Ceramics from the Kozan Studio by Kathleen Emerson-Dell.