Masaki Art Museum, located in Tadaoka, in the Senboku district of Osaka Prefecture, possesses a wide ranging collection of tea utensils, Buddhist art works, and archaeological materials, with a particular focus on medieval painting and calligraphy. An exhibition of its works will be held for the 20th time on the 25th floor Atrium of Park Hotel Tokyo, in Tokyo Shiodome district. For this exhibition, from the collection of the Masaki Art Museum, we will present tea utensils that have been used carefully in the world of tea ceremony.
The founder of our museum, Takayuki Masaki, had a great enthusiasm for tea ceremony, putting great efforts into it while also collecting antique works of art. The tea ceremony works in our collection are tea-making utensils that were actually used by Takayuki during tea ceremonies. Please enjoy these utensils that adorn tea ceremony and have captivated our tea ceremony guests for years.
[Date] December 13 (Fri.), 2019 – March 12 (Thu.), 2020
[Place] Atrium, Park Hotel Tokyo (25F)
[Fare] Free of Charge
[About the Masterpieces]
1 Red Raku Ware Tea Bowl inscribed Musashino Attributed to Dounyu Edo Period
Raku pottery was fired by the Raku clan, potters who lived in Kyoto and worked without the use of a potter’s wheel, using only spatulas and their hands. Among these works, “red raku” refers to those that have a red color tone, fired by throwing glaze over red clay. As can be seen from the expression: “No.1 Raku, No.2 Hagi, No.3 Karatsu”, the Raku pottery was very much favored among the tea masters.
This work is said to have been made by Dounyu, a third generation of the Raku clan (1599-1656, alias Nonkou). The Tatami-tsuki (foot part that touches the tatami floor) rest on the foot is rather wide, and it has marks (traces of “kamase” to prevent adhesion to the kiln or other vessels when it was fired). The body is fairly thick, making the bowl quite stout.
2 Tea Bowl with Design of Plum Blossoms China, Yuan Dynasty
An Egorai tea bowl is considered to be one type of Korai tea bowl (tea bowls that were on the Korean peninsula), and thus was named as such. These were, however, actually made in Cizhou kilns in Hebei Province in China. These made their way to Japan around the time of the 16th century, with masters of tea ceremony calling them Egorai, which then became commonplace.
One variety of these Egorai tea bowls, the Umebachi tea bowl (decorated with the pattern of plum blossoms) has what is thought to be the shichiyosei (Japanese word for the seven planets of premodern astronomy – Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) pattern on its side, but in Japan this is said to resemble plum blossoms. As plum blossoms bloom earliest, even in the depths of winter, and bear large quantities of fruit, they are known and loved as a symbol of survival ability, endurance, and prosperity for one’s descendants.
3 Indigo glazed incense container China, Tang Dynasty
Incense containers are containers that come with a lid and are also a tea ceremony utensil. There are various designs which use a great deal of materials, such as Japanese urushi lacquer, makie lacquer, and tsuishu lacquer (a technique of lacquer carving whereby vermilion lacquer is coated several times over, and patterns are carved into the layers of the lacquer), but incense containers made with pottery such as that used in this work are mainly used in the ro (lit. furnace) season (from November to April) in tea ceremony.
Flat and rather large in shape, its lid is full and hangs over. It is finished with a coat of transparent glaze on top of its initial indigo glaze. The inner body, however, is coated only with the transparent glaze. The underside of the base is an unlacquered surface, showcasing the white tones of the paste used in the creation process.
4 Celadon Glazed Incense Burner Jiaotan Ware China, Southern Song Dynasty
Jiaotan kiln was an imperial porcelain kiln that existed in the countryside south of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China during the Southern Song Dynasty of Chinese history. During this period, pottery-making technology reached its peak, with a wealth of excellent works produced.
The whole vessel body is thinly glazed blue-grey, and due to color variations when firing, there are many parts with a yellowish brown color. The unglazed parts of the tips of the legs are reddish-brown, due to firing.
The incense burner has a rim which extends horizontally, and three legs. Originally, it resembled China bronze ware called a li (kettle), but in Japan, as it looked like a person wearing a hakama (long pleated skirt worn over kimono), it was called an Incense Burner in the Shape of a Hakama.
5 Holland Bowl with Auspicious Words Edo Period
“Holland fired” refers to ceramics brought from Europe to Japan by the Dutch East India Company during the Edo period. It is known that, from about 1630 onwards, tea ceremony items were ordered from japan and fired in Holland.
In this work we see, on the outside, a simple pattern of three small animals joined together by ivy, painted in several colors. On the inside, we see large kanji (Chinese character) “fuku” (good luck), which is an unusual design. Because the way of cursively writing the kanji is different from that of Japan, it can be imagined that they were written by Dutch craftsmen, who received an order for a design with “fuku” from Japan, but who were unfamiliar with kanji.