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An exquisite koro by Kiyomizu Rokube V with solid silver lid enclosed in the original signed wooden box titled: Censer engraved with flowering Paulownia. This style is called Taireiji, developed by and unique to the fifth generation Rokubei. The most famous work in this style is undoubtedly a vase decorated with parrots in a tree held in the collection of the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art. This piece is more subtle, the imagery soft and delicate, breathtaking in person. The paulownia tree glazed in white spreads its branches out around the body of the urn, flowers rising up from the broad leaves. The rising flower of the paulownia is a symbol if the imperial family. The background, very subtle, it is entirely engraved with sasa bamboo leaves the same color as the body. This double layer of carving is very rare. The solid silver lid is signed by the silversmith, and pierced with Phoenix, another symbol of the Japanese Imperial Family. It comes enclosed in a double wood protective box (Ni-ju Bako). A masterpiece by this most important figure.
Kiyomizu Rokubei V (Shimizu Kuritaro, 1875-1959) initially studied painting and decorating technique under Kono Bairei, one of the foremost painters in Japan in the Meiji era. After graduating the Kyoto Municipal Special School of Painting, he took a position under his father at the family kiln however. That same year he exhibited his first work at the National Industrial Exposition. He was a co-founder of Yutoen with his father and Asai Chu, and worked ceaselessly to promote the pottery of Kyoto. He helped to establish the Kyoto Ceramics Research Facility (Kyoto Tojiki Shikensho) at the turn of the century which would be the proving ground for many young artist of the era. Doctor Maezaki Shinya has noted that Teishitsu-Gigei-in (Imperial Art Academy Member) Seifu Yohei III also fired his acclaimed works in the Rokubei kiln in the Taisho era. Due to his father’s poor health Rokubei V took the reins unofficially in 1902, commanding the helm until assuming the name Rokubei V in 1913. It was in 1928 that Rokubei changed the reading of the family name from Shimizu to Kiyomizu and applied it retroactively to previous generations. He exhibited constantly, and garnered a great many awards. He worked to get crafts added to the National Art Exhibition (Bunten/Teiten) and served as a judge in 1927, the first year crafts were allowed. In 1937 he was designated a member of the Imperial Art Council (Teishitsu Bijutsu Inkai). Despite changes in the world around him Rokubei persevered, working in all manner of materials and styles. He retired in 1945, perhaps as exhausted as Japan was with the end of the war, or perhaps seeing that capitulation would signal a new era in need of new leaders and a new aesthetic. He passed the name Rokubei to his son and took the retirement name Rokuwa. Uncontainable he continued to create pottery under that name until his death in 1959. His influence is so pervasive he was voted one of the most important potters of the modern era by Honoho magazine, the preeminent quarterly devoted to Japanese pottery. A multitude of works by him are held in the The National Museums of Modern Art, both in Tokyo and Kyoto, the Kyoto Kyocera Museum, The Kyoto Hakubutsukan Museum and the Philadelphia Art Museum among others.