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.

Suwa Sozan I & Takeda Mokurai Moss Covered Stone Okimono

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1920: Item # 1469153

Please refer to our stock # A001 when inquiring.
The Kura
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817-2 Kannonji Monzen-cho
Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 602-8385
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A stone-shaped Okimono by Suwa Sozan I engraved with the words to the ancient song Kimigayo engraved into the surface by Takeda Mokurai encosed in the original signed wooden box titled Iwao苔薰巌 and bearingthe Teishitsu Gigei-in seal of the Imperail Art Acadaemy. The stone itself is signed Sozan-zo no Nanaju (Made by Sozan at 70). This would make it the year before he died, as Japanese traditionally count the first twelve months as year 1. Engraved into the stone shape is:
Kimigayo wa
Chiyo ni yachiyo ni
Sazare-ishi no…
The lyrics are from a waka poem written by an unnamed author in the Heian period (794–1185), no official translation of the title or lyrics has ever been established.
Sozan I (1852-1922) was born in Kutani country, present day Ishikawa prefecture, where he initially studied before moving to Tokyo in 1875. Over the next 25 years he would gravitate between Tokyo and Kanazawa, working at various kilns and research facilities. He again relocated, this time to Kyoto in 1900 to manage the Kinkozan Studio before establishing his own. His name became synonymous with celadon and refined porcelain and was one of only five potters to be named Teishitsu Gigei-in. The Teishitsu Gigei-in were members of the Imperial Art Academy, Perhaps in modern terms one might call them the predecessors to the Living National Treasures. However unlike the LNT, there were only five Pottery artists ever named Teishitsu Gigei-in, Ito Tozan, Suwa Sozan, Itaya Hazan, Miyagawa Kozan, and Seifu Yohei III. He was succeeded by his adopted daughter upon his death. He is held in the Kyoto National Museum among many others.
Takeda Mokurai began his training as a priest at the age of 7. Developing under a number of masters, he finally settled under Yuzen. During his younger years he developed a love for poetry and calligraphy, something for which he would later be greatly remembered, and in later days, his scholar script was highly prized. As a scholar priest and head of Kyotos Kenninji, he had great influence on the art of early 20th century Kyoto, as Zen practice was almost seen as a given for painters and ceramic artists of the time. For more information on this important Zen Master, see the art of 20th Century Zen by Stephen Addis and Audrey Yoshiko Seo.