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.

Rare Kameyama Yaki and Seto Porcelain Jubako Stacking Boxes

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Porcelain: Pre 1900: Item # 1488404
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23 Murasakino Monzen-cho
Kita-ward Kyoto 603-8216
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Two Jubako stacking porcelain boxes enclosed in their unique wooden boxes which are both enclosed together in an additional outer wooden box for protection. According to the lid, the designs were by Kinoshita Itsuun and Uragami Gyokudo, and the pieces were made by Kawamoto Hansuke. Hansuke is considered the progenitor of porcelain production in Seto, and it was through an act of industrial espionage that he was able to bring the techniques, until then the secrets of the Kyushu potteries, to Seto. It is believed the 3rd generation Hansuke went to Kyushu, purportedly to help with the establishment of the Kameyama Kiln, and stole the secrets of porcelain production. Each set of boxes is roughly 12 cm (4-3/4 inches) square, 16.5 cm (6-1/2 inches) tall and enclosed in respective age-darkened wooden boxes. The landscape dominated pieces are in excellent condition, the boxes with floral designs have several small chips and one gold repair. The box for the landscape piece is titled Ju-bachi Hakurendo and has inside two long verses stating the paintings was performed by Gyokudo. The box for the second piece is signed inside Shintoen Hansuke-zo, the name used by the 4th generation Hansuke.
During the Horeki era (1751-1764), the first generation Kawamoto Hansuke worked with Kawamoto Jihei to build both the Asahi and Yuhi kilns, and each subsequent generation inherited the name Hansuke. The third generation switched to Sometsuke-yaki in 1804. His son, the fourth generation, took over the family business in 1822. He created a variety of Shozui-style dyed patterns and was a naturally talented artist, inheriting his father's legacy, and was always passionate about improving porcelain. 'In the Tenpo era, he finally invented the idea of pulverizing Gyaman stone and blending it with the original clay creating a lustrous, tranparent porcelain. During the Tenpo era (1830-1844), he was ranked as the Bishu family's pottery master. He is remembered as a person who made a significant contribution to the history of Seto's ceramic industry for his research into the use of silica stone as a glaze on porcelain to increase transparency and improve the color of Gosu, and for his efforts to improve quality.In 1858 (Ansei 5), he adopted Kawamoto Masukichi as his eldest daughter's son-in-law and passed the family business to him as the fifth generation.
Kameyama ware was made in Nagasaki during the late Edo period. The high-quality white porcelain is famous for its literati-style Gosu paintings reminiscent of imported Chinese models, but many designs evoke an exotic atmosphere unique to Nagasaki. A characteristic of Gosu is that it is darker overall than Imari. Under the Nagasaki Magistrate, the techniques of potters in each domain were handed down from generation to generation, producing highly skilled porcelain such as Mikawachi ware from the Hirado domain, Hasami ware from the Omura domain, and Arita ware from the Saga domain. In 1807, a kiln was opened in Kakineyama, Irabayashi, Nagasaki by 4 potters with funds by a loan from the Nagasaki Magistrate's Office, the kiln named Kameyama. The clay was taken from Amakusa, Ajiro as well as imported clay from Suzhou in China. Prominent literary figures such as Tanomura Chikuden, Kinoshita Itsuun, Somon Tetsuo, and Miura Gomon, designed elegant literati paintings for the pottery decoration. By 1819, it was run solely by Jingohei Ogami, and during the Kansei and Tenpo years it reached its peak, gaining reputation for its high quality. In 1839, Jingohei Ogami passed away at the age of 65, and the second generation, Jingohei, took over the kiln, which remained in operation until 1865. Because the pottery was produced over a short period of about 50 years, and there are few passed down items, it is called a phantom pottery, and particularly well-crafted pieces are prized by collectors.
Kinoshita Itsuun (1800 - 1866) was a nanga during the latter part of the Edo period. born as the third son of Kinoshite Katsushige in Nagasaki. At the age of 17 he inherited the role of "Otona," or village head, which had been assumed by the Kinoshita family for generations, but transferred the role to his elder brother in 1829. Working as a medical doctor, which had been his initial interest, he was committed to proliferation of vaccination learned from a Dutch medical doctor. Itsuun first learned Nanga painting from Ishizaki Yushi, as well as directly under several Chinese artists visiting Nagasaki. He ardently studied the techniques of various painting schools including Unkoku, the Kano School, Yamato-e and the Maruyama Shijo School as well as Western oil painting and incorporated them into his own technique. He tavelled in literati circles with the likes of Rai Sanyo, Tanomura Chikuden, Somon Tetsuo and Hirose Tanso. He also excelled in other fields such as calligraphy, tenkoku (seal-engra