This Fine Rakuyaki 楽焼き Kogo or Small Box was made by the Japanese potter Kuriyama doing work as Fujisawa 藤沢栗山. This 'doing work as' comment was found in the posts I could find with his or her name and evidently the 'very high prices the limited available piece of this potter's works' which could be found as stated by another poster on their site, these comments found in a gallery in the U.S. and some auctions in Japan. He was noted to be a Raku potter so then I thought he was one of 'the' Raku potters but I could not find the name as such on the site. I still need to find someone that can help with that as the potters and artist often go by several names especially if they do multiple types of art work or hold another important position; so it is sometimes hard to find a Japanese potter, and this potter is deceased.
I dare say this is one of the prettiest kogo we have had in the store. At least, Sharon thinks it is really neat. I do not know how they made it, but it is no doubt all handmade. Raku is a pottery, some type of material that looks like torn paper is then laid all over it in an overlapping design, it is probably then hand painted with an enamel and glazed. The reddish brown is a very nice color. It is inscribed on the bottom with a good example of the raised mark, and by the artist with the Raku symbol for their name, which does look like an original old Raku symbol.
A kogo is used for holding incense and historically most often for the tea ceremony, at the temple, and for the small worship area in the home. The kogo are also wonderful items of character to decorate with, in addition to placing small items in around the house. We consider this kogo as an extra special piece. Ir is in excellent condition no cracks or repairs, there is one- 1 mm chip on the bottom corner rim of the lid which is always the most common place for them to develop chips, so place lightly! I personally think kogo are great gifts there are many who collect them, and would make a great starter gift for a collection, or especially with a ring or for a ring or two or three.
SIZE: Width and Length 2.2 inches or cm, Height 1.2 inches or cm, Weight 130 grams or about one-fifth of lb. The Potter
From Japan WIKI- Kuriyama Fujisawa as 藤沢栗山, Note that the last mark is a zan mark, which is not part of the mark we have. There are many potters and families with zan as part of their artist name, most who are well known are from Kyoto. Taisho- Showa period. This piece is at least 38 years old. Born in 1925 and deceased in 1987. Comments on a tea bowl for sale by this potter, quote: Scarce, fine Old Kyoto-pottery. And made in good taste'. I have a feeling the following is one reason it is difficult to find, Marmie from the blog 'modernjapanesepottery' blogspot said in regards to the translation of his or her name: 'Raku Yaki Fujisawa: Kuriyama is the Kun reading but potters often use the On reading. I found interesting Kanji for face...Omokake which means face, looks, vestiges, or trace. The example given was 'This town still retains something of the old days'. And, many in Japan even do not read the kanji because it is the old language taken from old Chinese.
Raku-yaki 楽焼 or Raku Pottery
We have over 20 pages of information collected over the years on Raku so will do my best so hit on the high points, although Raku lovers are no doubt familiar with much of this information already. Raku pottery serves both practical and aesthetic purposes in Japan, and has been manufactured by not only Japanese artisans, but also by the same family that created the Raku technique in the 1600s.Raku is a type of Japanese pottery that is made using a special process known as the Raku firing process, the piece is hand-molded instead of being turned on a potter's wheel and is fired at a low temperature. In Japan, most raku pottery pieces are fired in traditional wood-burning kilns. Japanese artists use a type of non-lead frit in place of lead glazes, which can be very toxic. There are various sub-styles of raku in Japan. Source: Marie Lan Nguyen Wikimedia Commons
History of Raku
Raku-ware has its roots in the Sencai pottery tradition of Ming-dynasty China, which is where Chojiro Raku I had his roots. His father Ameya was a Sencai potter who was brought to Japan from China and he passed on much of his skill to his son Chojiro. In the 16th century, the Japanese tea master Sen no Rikyu had pioneered the tea ceremony ‘chanoyu’.The Raku family has continued to produce Raku-ware ever since. The Raku style pioneered and mastered by Chojiro has been passed down through the generations to the current and 15th Raku, Kichizaemon. In addition, a number of Japanese artists and potters have studied at the Raku family kiln and mastered the technique over the centuries. These include a number of Japan's most famous artists.Over the centuries since its creation by the Raku dynasty, many Japanese artists have mastered the art of Raku and created magnificent Raku pieces. Some of these artists studied under the Raku family themselves. Another Japanese artist to master Raku was Ogata Kenzan 1663-1743, who was one of the greatest ceramicists of the Edo period in Japan.
In Japan, one-world view that is reflected in much of the artwork of the country is that of 'wabi-sabi'. Simply put, wabi-sabi is beauty through imperfection, incompletion, and impermanence. Some of the characteristics of wabi-sabi are simplicity, irregularity, and modesty. The values of wabi reflect the Zen beliefs of the priests who created the concept many hundreds of years ago. . In Japan, there's an old adage that goes ‘Raku first, Hagi second, Karatsu third.’ This adage is true to a degree up to the present day, but it demonstrates the popularity Raku enjoyed in the tea ceremony when it premiered in the 16th century. Raku has been one of Japan's most cherished art forms for over 500 years
Other references: • Raku and the Meaning of Wabi Sabi • RAKU-YAKI Menu - EY Net Japanese Pottery Primer
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