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.

Very Rare! Antique Japanese Mushiake Hawk Okimono

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1900: Item # 1482621
The Kura
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23 Murasakino Monzen-cho
Kita-ward Kyoto 603-8216
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A hawk rests on an elaborate perch, the feathers fluffed up, each uniquely carved on this rare okimono from the Mushiake kilns of Okayama prefecture. It comes in an ancient kiri-wood box. The notation on the side of the box states it was received in late Meiji 27 (1894) from the former Head of the Okayama fief Ikeda Mochimasa. The name of the recipient has been redacted, as is often the case when things change hands in Japan. It is 24 x 7.4 x 29 cm (9 x 3 x 11-1/2 inches). A ringlet on one side and a hook under the bar, both made of wire-thin clay, have been broken off, otherwise it is in excellent condition. A work like this from Mushiake is unprecedented, a true rarity.
Mushiake ware is pottery made in modern day Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture. Legend states it was begun as the Niwa-yaki (a private samurai residence kiln) by the Igi Family, chief retainer of the Okayama Domain. The kiln origin is unknown, but possible originated with the 6th head of the Igi family, and was certainly active in the Bunka/Bunsei eras at the opening of the 19th century. It is said the third generation Dohachi fired work there. The kiln was shut down in 1842, but five years later revitalized by the 14th-generation head of the Igi family, Igi Tadazumi (Sanensai, 1818–1886,), who was a well-known tea master. He invited Seifu Yohei (1803–1861) who came to the kiln and taught blue and white pottery techniques, Korean and other traditions popular in the capitol at the time. At the end of the Edo period (Bunkyu era) Mori Kakutaro took over operations at the kiln. In the early Meiji era Miyagawa Kozan came to work at the kiln, and it is said Kakutaro’s son Hikoichiro took the character Ko from Kozan for his own pseudonym Mori Koshu. Once again, during the Meiji era, the kiln shut down temporarily, and Hikoichiro (now known as Koshu) went to Yokohama to learn new pottery techniques from Kozan. The kiln enjoyed some success during this era, but was again shut down eventually, and revived in 1932. It is still in existence today.