A Japanese Vintage Kyoto Ware Pottery Kogo or Case of a Puppy. A kogo is a box most often used for placing incense in at the tea ceremony. The traditional method is to hand roll the incense balls and place them in the kogo. Kogo come made in many mediums and art forms and also make excellent decorative and collector items for the home and for placing small things in, and are also a form of art. This puppy kogo is quite comical and unusual. It is following a very old Japanese custom called Hikimayu 引眉, taken from the Chinese, and mostly done by aristocratic women. This was the practice of removing the natural eyebrows and painting smudge-like eyebrows on the forehead in pre-modern Japan, after the face was whitened. Both men and women alike did this according to a Japanese performing arts page, but historically it was mainly related to women. Knowing this now, and with the red collar and bow, this is a female puppy.
This glazed and painted handmade pottery kogo is both lovely and comical. Her whiskers are drawn in a simple circle to represent the whisker pads. She has a big puppy dog look' on her face as if begging for attention, portrayed looking upwards. Her glaze is similar to Satsuma ware. Her tail is curled similar to a Shiba Inu's. She is whimsically decorated in reds, green a and gold. An excellent piece for the young collector or the young at heart. There is crazing in the glaze which is normal for this type made hand glazed ware. It is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips. She is at least 30 years old.
The box is a true tomobako, or a box made especially for the item. It was read and translated for us as follows, thank you Yoshio Kusaba san: On the lid, top: 福香合, Fuku Kogou. On the back of the lid; it reads: 洛東 Rakuto, then 祇園社 Gion, then 北野神社, Kitano Shrine. This tells us this is a funny kogo, made in Raku Tou which is in the Gion district in the eastern part of Kyoto. It also holds the name of the Gion-sha or Gion Shrine, and the Kitano-jinja or the Kitano Shrine. Therefore, most likely it was made by a potter who works for the shrine and makes their pottery for all their occasions including the tea ceremonies and including their gift shops. We did run out of picture room to show the inside of the lid.
SIZE: Width 2.4" or 6.09 cm, Length 1.4" or 3.55 cm, Height 1.4" or 3.55 cm
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