This very unusual gourd-type shaped Kutani porcelain vase is an exceptional piece with Eiraku style painting all in silver (Instead of gold) and on deep dark cobalt blue instead of red. The designs are similar to those often seen on Eiraku, with a well done motif of the Phoenix known in Japan as the Hō-ō 鳳凰 or Hou-ou bird, and having its origin China. This mythical bird represents fire, the sun, justice, obedience, fidelity, and the southern star constellations. It is signed Matsuyama 松山窯 in the kaku signature, see more below about the kiln history and revival. It dates to early Showa 1940's-1960's. The word Japan while looking painted on the bottom is actually a very nice quality sticker. According to legend of the Phoenix mostly from China, the Hō-ō appears very rarely, and only to mark the beginning of a new era -- the birth of a virtuous ruler, for example. In other traditions, the Hō-ō appears only in peaceful and prosperous times. Because of this belief and the history of revival of the Matsuyama 松山窯 kiln and timing or possible age of this vase, combined with the symbolism of the Hou-ou bird, I have a feeling there is some very important connection for this gourd- style vase and perhaps the vase itself may have some significant importance. However the phoenix represents rebirth, not just in Asian countries and religions but all over the world and most religions.This piece is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips. Since it is vintage there may be some surface wear, although it looks relatively new to me! A very fine and possibly prestigious piece of Matsuyama Kutani.
SIZE: Height 10" or 25.4 cms, Width at bottom: 4 1/2" or 11.43 cms, top: 3 1/2" or 8.89 cms
Kutani Matsuyama 九谷焼 松山窯
Revival of Aote Kutani from Kutani yaki Art Museum.
In about 1848 Daishoji clan opened Kutani Matsuyama kiln managed by itself, and the kiln revived Aote Kutani of each kiln said to be Ko Kutani (Old Kutani) and Yoshidaya kiln being conscious of deep-blue Kutaniyaki Porcelain which had not been gradually made. It was approximately 190 years later since the mysterious extinction of Ko Kutani which had created Aote style, and only ten several years later since the closure of Yoshidaya kiln which had revived formerly Aote Kutani.
From Georges Bouvier of the Kutani Ceramic Website:
Aoya Genuemon and Matsuya Kikusaburo were invited to join the kiln. They used materials from the old places such as Kutani village and Suizaka, Chokushi etc. and mainly made officials gifts which were used in the Han. They made ceramics similar to Yoshidaya. In 1863, Maeda Toshika 14th Lord of Daishoji Han decided to sale the kiln to private investors. The name was changed to Matsuyama Okami kiln. The kiln was operated in 1868 by Kinoshita Naomasa from Koshi village.
People at that time called this kiln the good Matsuyama kiln. The ruin of the old kiln still exist today near Matsuyama at a small hill in the middle of Hiranuma plain .
The under glazed wares of Matsuyama are often marked Eiraku or Dai Nihon Kutani . The original unpainted pottery from Matsuyama have a more colored green- gray than the unpainted pottery from Yoshidaya. The color and style of original Matsuyama look like Yoshidaya. Only for Prussian blue the color of the pottery has no influence and is independent from the color of the base.
For more history and information, see "Revival of Kutani" at the website of the Kutani yaki Art Museum. Please let us know if you have any questions. See our homepage for more information about our family, store and announcements.
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