Japanese vintage Bizen 備前 ware pottery vase was made by the Nanzan 南山窯 Gama. This tall, gorgeous vase was made about 30-40 years ago. Bizenyaki is a thriving ceramic center and the pottery of the city of Okayama. The subdued beauty and elegant simplicity of Bizen ware has endeared it to pottery lovers around the world. Made for over 1,000 years, Bizenyaki is one of the Six Ancient kilns of Japan.
This tall naturalistic vase is all hand made by a Bizen-yaki potter and potter specialist. Using light mountain clay, the potters make it on the potter's wheel or formed by the potter's hands or both, it is placed in the kiln. Instead of painting and other such decorating, Bizen is made by utilizing different materials such as straw and ash in the kiln. There are about seven or more different types by design and color, and this is the type called ''Goma' which derives its name from the brownish coloring which is the result of red pine ash melting on the pots which resemble sesame seed paste. It may have used other methods as well including Sangiri which is produced when charcoal falls on pieces after it is introduced during the latter stages of the kiln firing. A unique and beautiful piece.
We looked extensively and found a few pieces of Bizen made at Nanzangama for sale for a high price on Japan's Yahoo site but did not find a website for the kiln. We did find the potter name Hirata Yoshimi 平田芳美 connected to Nanzangama that makes Bizen, so have updated this post. Otherwise, the only information we found for a 'Nanzangama' was for another one maker of Kutani, not this one. I do have a picture of the kiln information on a page from a book on Bizen which belongs to a friend and will be happy to share with the buyer of this piece.
It is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips. it has been inscribed by the potter on the bottom with the kiln mark.
Size : Height 10.2 inches or 26.0cm, Diameter 3.7"(9.5cm)
Bizen - History 備前
It is said that Bizen Ware got its start from a change in the process of Sue Ware of the Kofun Era, and was produced in the Heian Era at the foot of Mt. Kuma as daily-use items such as bowls, plates, platters, and roof-tiles.
In the Kamakura Era, pots, jars, and mortars were frequently made from clay which mainly consisted of mountain earth. However, from that time onwards, works with the characteristic reddish-brown surface of Bizen Ware were started to be created. From the end of the Muromachi Era, a clay gathered from the Inbe region called Hiyose came to be used. The making of these items in large kilns would continue up to the end of the Edo Era, but at that time, the production of porcelain goods in places like Kyoto, Arita and Seto started to flourish which would consequently affect Bizen Ware adversely.
The time from the Meiji Era to the beginning of the Showa Era was a difficult one. the man who brought the declining Bizen Ware back to its current prosperity was Toyo Kaneshige. In 1956, Kaneshige was proclaimed as a National Living Treasure or "a Bearer of Important Intangible Cultural Assets".
This was the catalyst for everybody to put their efforts together and get themselves out of a very dark period in history. In addition, it was from this time that not just within Japan but even abroad, the popularity of the classically Japanese Bizen Ware increased and so after the passing of Kaneshige, Kei Fujiwara, Toshu Yamamoto, Yu Fujiwara, Jun Isesaki and other National Living Treasures started to turn out in great numbers.
information from Robert Yellin's site 'eyakimono' site, thank you for always teaching us Robert and sharing the wonderful items in your gallery!