This Japanese vintage Hagi-Ware pottery ornament or small statue of a Dragon has got to be the most unusual piece of Hagi-yaki we have seen. The dragon is handmade of the fine dark brown and pink pottery of Hagi Ware or Hagi-yaki, covered in a thick white glaze. It is a very similar to the ice-glaze whereas this one is solid white instead of blueish white. Dragons or -Ryu in Japanese, are diverse legendary creatures in Japanese mythology and folklore. There are many types of dragons and many legends on around them. Chinese dragon mythology is central to Japanese dragons. This dragon could possibly be described as the 'Danryu' or a circular dragon. The dragon is holding a pearl in its mouth as is often seen. In mythology and cultural belief, the dragon’s mystical pearl is what gives the fearless dragon his strength, wisdom, and power- and why it is referred to as the ‘pearls of wisdom. It has an excellent wabi-sabi form of a dragon, yet very realistic looking in the artist's perception of what a dragon would look like made in Hagi ware. I keep thinking I see hair on its head, but it is the darker color on the glaze along the top of the dragon's head and spine on the cracked glaze pattern. A very unusual and rare piece to find in Hagi ware, and about 30 years old. It is in very good condition, with no chips or cracks. This was a purchase from one of our favorite dealers in Japan.
SIZE: Width 3.9" or 10 cm, Height 3.3" or 8.5 cm, Depth 2.2" or 5.6 cm
Hagi yaki 萩焼き
The origins of Hagi-yaki ware go back about 400 years. It was brought to Japan by potters returning from Korea. There was a decisive battle in 1600 in which the Lord Mori, who was protecting the Korean potters, was defeated, and subsequently moved his castle to Hagi. At this point, a kiln was opened in Hagi, and this was the starting point of Hagi-yaki ware. In later times, the style was changed and diversified. One of the features of Hagi-yaki ware is the feeling of softness and warmth of the soil in the finished product. It has been used mainly for tea ceremony implements, and the art has been improved and developed. Now, Hagi-yaki ware is highly valued as one of the world's greatest types of earthenware.
Another feature of Hagi ware is that it contains cracks, known as 'Kannyu', in its foundation. This gives it different properties of ventilation and water permeability to porcelain. Part of the charm of Hagi ware is the incrustation of tea into the cracks through use, resulting in subtle changes of pattern and color. This is the reason that Hagi ware is respected, and the respect is demonstrated in ancient sayings originating from the world of tea earthenware such as, 'one Raku, two Hagi, three Karatsu', and 'The seven changes of Hagi'. Another element of the charm of Hagi-yaki ware is that it gives a feeling of amorousness combined with simplicity. Moreover, the shade will change gradually through use. Enjoy this transformation, and feel the softness and warmth in your hand.
Hagi Ware is a type of Japanese pottery most identifiable for its humble forms and use of translucent white glaze. It originated in the early 17th century with the introduction of potters brought back from Japanese invasions of Korea. The local daimyo of the time were very interested in the tea ceremony and funded production of this ware. Potters mix different types of local clay. The most standard result is a pink-orange color, called Korean clay. Wares are formed on the wheel and decorated with translucent glaze made of feldspar and ash.
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