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A set of five porcelain tea cups by Ninnami Dohachi decorated with bamboo and poetry by Nukina Kaioku (Suo) enclosed in a superb custom period kiri-wood box with rosewood edges. Each cup is 2 inches (5 cm) tall, 2-1/2 inches (6 cm) diameter. There are old gold repairs to two of the cups, otherwise are in fine condition.
Nukina Kaioku (1778-1863) was born into a samurai family in Awa, on the island of Shikoku a patron of the Hachisuka clan. In frail health, he was excluded from the strict rigours of the martial arts, but was trained in the typical Confucian education based on Chinese classics, painting and calligraphy, at which he excelled. He went to Koyasan to study Buddhism, Literati arts in Nagasaki and advanced Confucian studies in Edo(Tokyo). He settled in Kyoto where he established the Shuseido Academy teaching Confucian studies, and his circle was extremely influential in the waning days of the Edo government, especially among loyalists. Works by this artist can be found in the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, The Walters Art Museum, Honolulu Museum, as well as a plethora of domestic museums in cluding MOMAT, Homma, Imabari, Itabayashi etc.
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 in Kyoto. He opened 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. He is also held in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Kyoto National Museum among 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 anals of Kyoto ceramics well into the Meiji period.