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.
In accordance with the requests of local authorities our Kyoto gallery will be closed to visitors from April 14th until further notice.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Metalwork : Pre 1970 item #1429540 (stock #MOR7932)
The Kura
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Exquisite Japanese Murashido bronze vase in mottled red with flecks of olive by Hara Naoki enclosed in the original signed kiri-wood box. It is quite large at 13 inches (33 cm), and in that mid century tradition, relies solely on elegance of form over overt decoration. This likely dates from his most productive period in the post war era, when he sought to revive a flagging tradition from his position as mentor to a younger generation. It is in excellent condition.
Hara Naoki (1906-1994) was born the son of bronze worker Hara Choshu in in Kashiwasaki city. He studied under Katori Hozuma, and went on to graduate the Tokyo University of Fine Art in 1933. He exhibited and later served as juror at the Nitten National Exhibition and fostered future generations of artists from his position at Niigata University. Due to illness he was forced to retire in 1978, and was granted the Order of Cultural Merit the following year for his life’s endeavors.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Lacquer : Pre 1920 item #1429429 (stock #MOR7930)
The Kura
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Lotus leaves in silver, ad gold rise up from rippling water under a long poem on the red lacquered surface of this wooden tray marked on back Nigatsudo. It is 39 cm (15-1/2 inches) diameter. Marks from use but overall it is in fine condition, with no chips or repairs.
This is styled after the 26 Einin Trays of Nigatsudo. On back is written Nigatsudo Rengyoshu ban nijurokumai uchi Ei'nin rokunen ju gappi shikko Renbutsu, or literally "one of 26 Nigatsudo ritual trays, 10th month 1298 lacquerer Renbutsu." The Einin era date has led to the "Einin tray" nickname for these trays, and its simple, red circular form has also led to another nickname, "Hinomaru," or red sun, trays. Originally, 26 of these trays were produced to correspond to the number of Rengyoshu priests, and at present 11 of these trays remain at Todaiji and have been designated Important Cultural Properties.
Nigatsudo, or Hall of the Second Month, is one of the important structures of Tōdai-ji, a temple in Nara, the ancient capitol, which houses the great Buddha (A must see for anyone visiting Japan). Nigatsu-dō is located to the east of the Great Buddha Hall, on the hillside of Mount Wakakusa. It includes several other buildings in addition to the specific hall named Nigatsu-dō, thus comprising its own sub-complex within Tōdai-ji. It was established in the mid 8th century, and is home to the repentance service dedicated to the image of the eleven-faced Bodhisattva, Kannon (Guanyin) which has been held every year without fail since 762 AD.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Sculpture : Pre 1920 item #1429419 (stock #MOR7928)
The Kura
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An incredible carved bamboo vase of warriors making their way through forested crags whipped by roiling mist cut from a single piece of bamboo and signed on the base Omikuni Sakata Shiori Yamaguchi Moritsugu Saku :Made by Yamaguchi Moritsugu of Shiori, Sakata, Omi Province (Modern day Maibara Shiga Prefecture on the North-Eastern shore of Lake Biwa). It is 35.5 cm (14 inches) tall and in overall excellent condition, enclosed in an old wooden box.
Possibly the image of Okuninushi and his five warrior kami (deities) created in a contest with his sister. They were present when he was forced to give up his lordship of the great reed plain, and sequester himself to the world of the unseen.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Lacquer : Pre 1920 item #1429356 (stock #MOR7927)
The Kura
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A serene mask of the deity Kannon (Quanyin/Guanyin) of carved wood lacquered and gilded enclosed in a Negoro lacquered box into which is burned the yaki-in (brand) of Daitokuji Temple. It is 24 x 19 x 13 cm and in overall excellent condition, with a crack over the right eye.
Kannon, also known as Guan-yin in Chinese or Avalokitasvara is a Bodhisattva, (one who has prolonged their own eternal enlightenment to stay behind to alleviate the suffering of others in this ephemeral world. Generally shown as feminine or androgynous, she is one of the most popular deities in the Japanese Buddhist Pantheon.
Daitoku-ji originated as a small monastery founded in the 14th century which was converted into a hall for the imperial court shortly thereafter. Like many historical sites in Kyoto, it was repeatedly destroyed by war and fire before being rebuilt on a grander scale by Zen master Ikkyu Sojun in the late 15th century. Daitoku-ji became particularly important from the sixteenth century, when it was predominantly supported by members of the military establishment, who sponsored the building of subsidiary temples. Closely associated with both Sen no Rikyu and Kobori Enshu, it is considered by many the home of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Porcelain : Pre 1940 item #1429037 (stock #TCR7926)
The Kura
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A magnificent large baluster vase deeply scored with dragons vying for the burning Buddhist jewel among tempestuous waves in vivid color by Eiraku Zengoro XVI enclosed in the original signed double wooden box. A masterpiece, it is 39 cm (15-1/2 inches) tall, 25 cm (10 inches) and in excellent condition.
Eiraku Zengoro XVI (Sokuzen, 1917-1998) was born in Kyoto in 1917, into the house of the 15th generation Eiraku Zengoro. Losing his father at 15 he was immediately enrolled in the Kyoto School of Crafts and took over the family name in 1935. From 1937 to 1945 he fired from a kiln on the grounds of the Mitsui residence in Kanagawa prefecture as well as from Kyoto. Married at 25, his first son was born two years later, but he lost his wife in 1945, the same year he stopped working at the Mitsui kiln and Japan’s war effort collapsed, hurling the country into an era of uncertainty. As one of the 10 providers of tea ceramics to the main tea schools, he was able to get the family kiln moving again and prospering by 1949. During the 50s he exhibited both contemporary and traditional forms in the Top venues, Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi as well as at the Matsuzakaya. After a lifetime of production he was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in 1986 from Kyoto. Work by the artist is held in the Kyoto National Museum among many others.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Porcelain : Pre 1940 item #1428943 (stock #TCR7923)
The Kura
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An evocative image of a bear hunkered down and looking a bit befuddled, perhaps awaking from winter slumber, in un-glazed white porcelain from the Tatsuno kilns of Banko in Mie Prefecture. It is sealed on the base with two stamps, one reading Banko, the other Tatsuno. The image is 23 x 20 x 16.5 cm (9 x 8 x 6-1/2 inches) and in excellent condition, enclosed in a period collectors kiri-wood box. Imagery of animals such as this were very popular in the Taisho (1911-1925) to early Showa era. The expression of this creature is masterful, the execution superlative, and the texture happily left matte; a far cut above the ordinary.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Baskets : Pre 1930 item #1428891 (stock #MOR7920)
The Kura
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A Tamasudare-ami Hanakago Basket by Yamamoto Chikuryusai I of round bamboo strands enclosed in the original signed wooden box lacquered in translucent red. The basket exudes a deep respect for the tradition, every knot perfect, the proportions exquisite. It is 19 cm (7-1/2 inches) diameter, 37 cm (14-1/2 inches) tall and in excellent condition.
Yamamoto Chikuryusai I (1868-1945) was a bamboo artist of the early modern era in Osaka. Born in year one of the Meiji era to the Yanagi clan, his former Samurai family hailed from Yodo, a castle town between Osaka and Kyoto. He later was adopted by his Sister in Law to the Yamamoto family, changing his name to Yamamoto at the time, however it was with his older brother, Yanagi Takesada that he learned basketry in their shop in Osaka. Takesada moved to Korea; for the Japanese at the time it was the New West, but Chikuryusai remained in Japan. Unlike others, Chikuryusai did not attempt to insert himself into his baskets, but, allowed his baskets a traditional elegance. He was renowned for his calligraphy, sencha aesthetic, and his elegant and reserved artistic vision. His baskets received awards at several important international expositions, and, with his two sons, Chikuryusai II and Chikken, participated in the annual Teiten/Bunten National Art Exhibitions. He served as mentor to not only his two sons but also Hamano Chikkosai, Ikeda Seiryusai, and Suemura Shobun. In 1929, he gave the artist “Go” (name) to his son but continued working under the name Shoen until his death in 1945. Work by him is held in the Asian Art Museum San Francisco, The Minneapolis Institute of Art and The Met New York among many other public and private collections.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Furniture : Pre 1920 item #1428859 (stock #MOR7918)
The Kura
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A very rare Japanese Ballot Box of hinoki wood bound in decorative iron dating from the later 19th to early 20th century. This year the ballot is on everyone’s mind, and this is an exceptional example of both traditional Japanese decoration and cabinetry. It has locks on both sides of the lid, which can be removed to reveal an inner lid with hinged iron cover over a slot for dropping in the ballots. This inner lid as well is locked. Keys included, it is 35.5 x 21 x 27 cm (14 x 8 x 10-1/2 inches), in excellent condition and comes enclosed in a protective outer wood storage box. The prewar image of Japan as a democracy has been stained by the era of expansion, however a look into the democratic and labor movements of the Taisho era, known as “Taisho Democracy” will show that the same forces vied for power in Japan as vied for domination elsewhere during that time. The Japanese version of Democracy verses the anti-establishment, Universal Suffrage, Women’s Rights, Anarchists, Socialism, Communism, labor movements against the Zaibatsu, the push and pull of independence movements, the embracing of western philosophy and derision of Western empires in Asia (who it may be said treated their colonies no better than the Japanese did), Imperialists, Militarists, Conscientious objectors, Sinophiles, the Mingei movement, Arts and Crafts and those wishing to regain contact with nature in the vein of William Morris…all played their part in the social lattice of that tumultuous era. Interestingly, according to Ken Lonsinger: In 1861 the Arts and Crafts Movement got its biggest boost when Morris founded Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., a furniture, design and decorative accessories company that stressed time-honored craftsmanship and natural materials. The timing was perfect for in 1862 the London International Exhibition showcased never-before-seen Japanese arts and Crafts, which had an immediate effect on design. England quickly became enamored with this new look and began shedding the layers of Victorian clutter from its homes. Also in the arts, much has been written about Japanese influence on the birth of impressionism and Art Nouveau, and will likely become more clear over time the Japanese influence on Art Deco, the Art-glass movement, the Beatnick culture, Minimalism, Bauhaus and other architectural trends of the 20th century. An article by Helena Capkova for Bauhaus insists: The impact of the Bauhaus teaching methods reached far beyond Germany. Conversely, throughout its existence, a Japanese sensibility permeated the Bauhaus, springing from the Japonisme of individual professors, until its closure in 1933.
That is a lot said about a ballot box, but perhaps a stimulus in these times of self isolation to expanding understanding of the true internationalization of art as influenced by various cultures over time. After all, no man is an Island unto himself.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Dolls : Pre 1980 item #1428858 (stock #MOR7917)
The Kura
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This is a genuine Bunraku theater puppet kashira representing the character of a young woman. It is not a souvenir. She wears her hair in an immaculate coiffure held with an unpretentious matching lacquer Kushi and Kogai (comb and Pinion) as well as a hair-pin. The head comes with the wood stand shown. There is a toggle on the neck for raising and lowering her chin as well as for opening and closing the eyes. On the stand as pictured, the presentation is 12 inches (30 cm) high. The actual head (with hair) is about 8 inches (20 cm) tall. All is in excellent condition.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Dolls : Pre 1980 item #1428824 (stock #MOR7916)
The Kura
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A lovely genuine full sized Bunraku theater puppet of a mature female character dressed in a blue silk kimono with elagent head dress. The doll is fully mobile, controlled from within by switches on her neck and poles extending from her arms. The hands are flexible as seen in the photos. She stands almost 4 feet (117 cm) tall, and comes complete with a bamboo display stand as pictured. All is in excellent condition, with a few stray hairs in her coiffure. This will be the first we have had the opportunity to offer online in quite sometime.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Porcelain : Pre 1910 item #1428559 (stock #TCR7915)
The Kura
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Peony are delicately rendered in white and gold with underglaze blue leaves veined with gold on pinkish white porcelain by Kiyomizu Rokubei IV enclosed in the original signed and compartmentalized wooden box dating from the Meiji period. The technique is fabulous, combining the Taihakujji style white with the Seika blue and flashes of gold, these were not simply dishes, they were works of fine art to be displayed at the table. The flowers are almost imperceptible, but for the texture and gold pistil. Each is 12 cm (5 inches) diameter and in excellent condition.
Kiyomizu Rokubei IV (1848-1920) was born the first son of Rokubei III and headed the family kiln from 1883-1913.He studied painting in the Shijo manner under Shiiokawa Bunrin and had a brotherly relationship with his fellow student Kono Bairei (under whom his own son would study painting). He sought to revitalize the pottery tradition of Kyoto, bringing in new techniques and styles and together with artists like Asai Chu and Nakazawa Iwata took part in the Entoen group and with Kamizaka Sekka the Keitobi-kai. He also held a strong relationship with literati artists such as Tomioka Tessai and Otagaki Rengetsu and together with these artists produced many joint works. He fell ill in 1902, finally handing the reins over to the 5th generation in 1913. His influence on the pottery tradition of Kyoto cannot be overlooked. 
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Chinese : Pottery : Pre 1700 item #1428438 (stock #TCR7912)
The Kura
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Four hand made lugs circle the neck of this squat tea jar (Cha Tsubo) covered in an opaque, dark-tea-colored glaze dating likely from the Sung-Yuan (Southern Song to Yuan Dynasty; Kamakura to Muromachi in Japan). A large dimple mars one side, accentuating the ideal of imperfection and asymmetry. There are no straight lines in nature. Retaining the antique bung originally wrapped in now dilapidated cloth. It is 22 cm (8-3/4 inches) diameter, roughly the same height and in fine condition.
Eight hundred years ago, tea was rare in Japan. It arrived from China in simple, ceramic storage jars. But once the workaday storage jugs reached Japan, they became objects of aesthetic contemplation and, often, reverence. One of those jars — a big brown jug called Chigusa in the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., is one such jar. In the 16th century, a tea ritual arose around them. At that time To be politically also meant that you had to show that you had sophistication as well. Unlike earlier times, when overtly decorated Chinese wares were popular, the appreciation of beauty born in the Muromachi/Momyama period stressed frugality and simplicity, a humble aesthetic unique to Japan, and these jars, along with simple Korean rice bowls, were the perfect accompaniment to the modest confines of the spaces made to contain them.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1900 item #1428284 (stock #TCR7911)
The Kura
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A loosely brushed image of a Kingfisher perched on dilapidated lotus stalk decorates the crackled gohon pale glaze of this gourd shaped Mizusashi fresh water jar by Takahashi (Ninnami) Dohachi. It features a black lacquered wooden lid. There are cracks in teh lacquer of the looping handle. The signature is consistent with works by Ninnami Dohachi (Dohachi II) from the mid 19th century. It is 5-3/4 inches (14.5 cm) tall, 6-1/2 inches (16.5 cm) diameter and in excellent condition, enclosed in a collector made wooden box. A Mizusashi in iron glaze of this same form is visible in the book Tensai Toko Ninami Dohachi (2014, Suntory Museum) page 164.
The Dohachi Kiln was established in Awataguchi by a retainer of Kameyama fief, Takahashi Dohachi I around 1760, and the name Dohachi was brought to the forefront of porcelain and ceramic production 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. Ninnami Dohachi (1783-1855) was born the second son of Takahashi Dohachi I. Following the early death of his older brother he succeeded the family name, opening a kiln in the Gojo-zaka area of Kyoto (at the foot of Kiyomizu temple) in 1814. 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 working to expand the family reputation within tea circles. Along with contemporaries Aoki Mokubei and Eiraku Hozen became well known as a master of porcelain as well as Kenzan and Ninsei ware. Over the following decades he would be called to Takamatsu, Satsuma, Kishu and other areas to consult and establish kilns for the Daimyo and Tokugawa families as well as Nishi-Honganji Temple. An exhibition was held at the Suntory Museum in 2014 centering on this artist, and he is also held in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Kyoto National Museum among many, many others. The third generation (1811-1879) was known as Kachutei Dohachi and continued the work of his father, producing an abundance of Sencha tea ware and other porcelain forms, maintaining the highest of standards and ensuring the family place in the annals of Kyoto ceramics. He was followed by the fourth generation (1845-1897), and his sons Takahashi Dohachi V (1845-1897) who took control of the kiln in 1897 until 1915 when his younger brother Dohachi VI (Kachutei) (1881-1941) continued the business.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Porcelain : Pre 1930 item #1428283 (stock #TCR7910)
The Kura
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A fabulous bold design of crashing waves wraps about this balluster form by Miyanaga Tozan enclosed in the original signed wooden box. It is 26 cm (10 inches) diameter, 28 cm (11 inches) tall and in excellent condition. An unusual design and superb execution by this important artist. Miyanaga Tozan I (1868-1941) is one of the most important names in Kyoto ceramics. He was born in Ishikawa prefecture, and graduated from the (now) Tokyo University of Art. While a government employee, he represented Japan at Arts Expositions, and studied art in Europe before returning to Japan in 1902 to devote himself to the production of ceramics, with great emphasis on celadon, one of the most difficult of all ceramic wares. He was direct teacher or mentor to a number of prominent artists including Kitaoji Rosanjin and Arakawa Toyozo. He was succeeded by his adopted daughter who brought a refreshing variation of color and delicate touch to the porcelains they produced. The kiln is now in the third generation, run by his grandson.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1900 item #1428104 (stock #TCR7904)
The Kura
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A fabulous Edo period sake cup from the Shimazu domain decorated in Bekko-yu Tortoise shell glaze with multiple colors on top typical of Snake-Scorpion glazes on a rough texture typical of earlier Kochosa ware. It is 7.5 cm (3 inches) diameter and comes enclosed in a custom made kiri-wood collectors box.
Following the Japanese invasion of Korea in the late 16th century Shimazu Yoshihiro brought to Japan with his returning army Korean potters who established a kiln in Uzumachi (Modern day Nagasaki prefecture). This was the origin of Kochosa-yaki. This rough texture is indicative of that style, however Kochosa was mostly dark glaze on a deep red clay. Genryuin works picked up where Kochosa leaves off, founded in 1663 by Ono Genryu. This kiln lasted a little less than a century, closing in the mid 1700s. In 1786 the Hirasa kilns then pick up, incorporating some of these earlier styles into a complex melee of wares from blue and white porcelain to rich iron glazes and sansei wares originally directly under the control of the Satsuma Lords.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1920 item #1426926 (stock #TCR7894)
The Kura
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Iron laced with tinges of blue decorates the rim, flowing into the bowl of these five abalone shaped dishes from 19th century Takatori in central Kyushu enclosed in a beautiful age darkened kiri-wood box titled Awabi Mukozuke Go Kyaku Takatori Yaki (Five Abalone Shaped Dishes from Takatori). Each is roughly 9.5 x 12.5 cm (4 x 5 inches) and each bears the “Taka” stamp beneath. No post-firing damage. One has a pre-firing chip in the rim, another a firing flaw visible in the bottom, it does not go through.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1900 item #1426887 (stock #TCR7892)
The Kura
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A collection of six unique antique sake cups from various regions in Japan, each enclosed in an old wooden box.
1. A rice bale shaped Kosobe yaki bowl in thin bluish-white glaze stamped on the base, probably second or third generation (see below).
2. A Soma Yaki small bowl of pinched form with speckled green glaze from Fukushima. Soma Yaki has a four-hundred-year history.
3. A very rare Etchu Kosugi Yaki wangata cup in smooth blue green glaze with a hint of yellow at the rim.
4. Another very rare Garyuzan-yaki cup incised with white slip in basket style by Yokohagi Ikko (1850-1924) in a signed box.
5. A later Edo Korean style piece with gold repairs by Mizukoshi Yosobei bearing his five-sided seal impressed into the base (the kiln closed in 1860).
And last an anonymous celadon piece whose title I cannot read (appears to be Kyudai seiji).
The Kosobe kiln was established in Takatsuki, along the route between Osaka and Kyoto by Igarashi Shinbei sometime around 1790, The first generation (1750-1829) was known for Raku wares, Tea Utensils and Utsushi wares among more common household items. The second generation (Shinzo, 1791-1851) is remembered for Takatori, Karatsu, Korai and other continental styles. Shingoro, the third-generation head of the family (1833-1882) continued in that line, but secured a route to use Shigaraki clay and blended that with his local clays. He was known for Mishima and E-gorai styles. Into the Meiji period, the 4th generation head Yasojiro (1851-1918) saw the kiln close due to health problems of his successor Shinbei V, (Eitaro) in the late Meiji or early Taisho period.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Stoneware : Pre 1900 item #1426886 (stock #TCR7891)
The Kura
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Wild chrysanthemum rise along a brief poem on the cream-colored sides of these Tokkuri by Seifu Yohei enclosed in the original signed wooden box titled Seizan Sakabin. They are 15 cm (just under six inches) tall and in excellent condition. There is a pre-firing imperfection in the rim of one of the Tokkuri.
Seifu Yohei I (1803-1861) founded the Seifu dynasty in Kyoto. He was born in powerful Kaga-kuni, modern day Kanazawa prefecture. After apprenticing with the second generation Dohachi, he established his own kiln in the Gojo-zaka pottery district of Kyoto. Seifu Yohei II (1844-1878) took over that world upon his father’s death and continued to elevate the family name. His work was presented at the Philadelphia Worlds Fair in 1876, that piece was purchased at the time by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. He held the reigns for only a short time, and died at the very young age of 34, leaving the kiln to brother in law, who would hurl the name of Seifu onto the annals of history recording the highest qualities of world porcelain artistry. For more on this illustrious lineage see the book Seifu Yohei by Seki Kazuo (2012).