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.

Momoyama-Early Edo period Japanese Shigaraki Tsubo


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1700: Item # 1491395

Please refer to our stock # Oc006 when inquiring.
The Kura
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23 Murasakino Monzen-cho
Kita-ward Kyoto 603-8216
tel.81-75-201-3497
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A fabulous example exploring the various traits of traditional Shigaraki pottery with a thick swath of glaze covering one side, telltale feldspathic inclusions bursting from the raw clay opposite. This is a classic example of 16th century Shigaraki pottery. It is 29 x 31 x 35 cm (11-1/2 x 12 x 14 inches) and in overall excellent condition. The history of Shigaraki traces its origins to around the 12th century with the discovery of exceptional clay deposits rich in iron and other minerals which contribute to its distinct rustic charm. The clay's natural tones, ranging from warm browns to deep russet, evoke the earth's organic essence. The subtle imperfections and irregularities of the forms and glazes mimic the irregularities found in nature, embodying the concept of wabi-sabi. Shigaraki ware captures the essence of simplicity, modesty, and reverence for the natural world, reflecting the philosophical ideals deeply rooted in Japanese culture. During the Muromachi and Momoyama periods (1336-1603), the popularity of Shigaraki pottery soared due to changes in the aesthetic of the tea ceremony, which came to emphasize the importance of humility. Shigaraki pieces, with their earthy tones, and rough natural textures, perfectly embodied the idea, making them highly sought-after by connoisseurs. In the Momoyama period (1573-1603), the introduction of anagama kilns that foster the spontaneous and unpredictable nature of the firing process, further enhanced the uniqueness of Shigaraki ceramics leaving beautiful variations in glaze and color based on, among other factors, kiln placement, fuel, firing time, convection, temperature, oxidation, and atmospheric conditions. Shigaraki celebrates the natural properties of the clay it is made from with the idea of Tsuchi-aji (literally Clay Flavor). Tsuchi-aji refers to the “visual taste” of the clay and is highly prized by connoisseurs. The surface often displays fascinating natural effects, including "hi-iro" (fire coloration), "koge" (scorch marks), Shizen-yu (natural ash glaze) and various "Yohen" (alterations). They contribute to the distinctive and organic aesthetic of Shigaraki pottery. Each piece tells a story of its journey through the firing process, reflecting the harmonious relationship between the artist, the kiln, and the natural elements. The interplay of clay, fire, and ash creates a captivating visual narrative, making Shigaraki pottery a testament to the beauty of the moment, the ephemeral and the accidental.