[Winter Exhibition] Masaki Art Museum Masterpieces
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 16th time on the 25th floor Atrium of the Park Hotel Tokyo, in Tokyo’s Shiodome district. This exhibit introduces a select number of tea ceremony utensils from the museum’s collection which are highly praised within the world of tea ceremony. In addition to items brought over from China, which have long been considered supreme, tea utensils from Japan and the Korean Peninsula have also been chosen, as these were considered to gain new value with the establishment of wabi style tea.
Please enjoy this collection by museum founder Takayuki Masaki on this, the museum’s 50th anniversary.
[Date] December 14 (Fri.) 2018 ～ March 14 (Thu.) 2019
[Place] Atrium, Park Hotel Tokyo (25F)
[Fare] Admission Free
1. Wu-shou Ware Vase with Red Overglaze Decoration Ming Dynasty, 17th Century, China
This vase is said to have been made with a household kiln in the Huánán region of southern China. The uninhibited style of painting on the ceramic was commonly imported into Japan and was particularly popular in tea ceremony circles.
The rim of this piece was made low and the shoulders swell out fully, giving the vase a rather short and stout shape. The shoulders are arrayed with lions and ornamental designs of the seven treasures. Around the body are arranged four window-like panels in the shape of flower petals, each drawn with slightly different designs of flowers and birds, such as sacred lotus, Chinese phoenix, and heron.
On April 13th, 1952 (Showa 27), Takayuki Masaki, the founder of this museum, held a tea gathering to inaugurate the tea room in the Memorial Masaki Mansion next to the museum. At that ceremony, this piece was displayed on the floor of the usucha ceremony.
2. Yellow Seto Ware Bowl with Auspicious Words Momoyama Period, 16th Century
The rim of this bowl rises straight up from the circular base. It is also called a dorahachi, or “gong bowl”, due to its similar shape to the percussive gong used in Buddhist memorial services at temples.
This piece is said to have been made at Kamasitagama (an old kiln in which many excellent yellow seto pieces were made), which existed in Mino no Ogaya (now Kukuri, Kani City, Gifu Prefecture). Typical of yellow seto pieces, the iron glaze gives the whole bowl a soft and warm amber glaze, and the pools of green chalcanthite dotted here and there give it color. It is decorated with most propitious designs, such as a large and hopefully engraved “fuku” (good fortune) character and the flowering plant designs.
3. Tani Red Raku Incense Container in Mokugyo Style, Inscribed Gyoku Edo Period, 17th – 18th CenturyD
Tani ware is a type of Raku ware begun by Zenemon Tani (1675–1741) in Yuyacho, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture. Zenemon was a wealthy merchant in Sakai who excelled at tea ceremony while mingling with the tea masters of the time. He was invited by Sonyu, the fifth of the Raku House to learn ceramics, after which he opened his own kiln and founded Tani ware.
This piece is an incense container in the form of a mokugyo, a round, hollow wooden block struck as a ritual instrument during the chanting of sutras or prayers. The piece’s inscription, which is Gyoku, refers to a plank-form ritual instrument shaped like a fish which is hung and used in Zen temples, based upon which the mokugyo is said to have been established. Roko Hirase (1839–1908), who was said to be the greatest person of culture in modern Osaka, not only named the piece, but wrote the characters in vermillion lacquer on the piece’s body as well.
4. Tea Bowl in Katate Type, inscribed Hamachidori Joseon Dynasty, 16th Century, Korea
Katate refers to a type of Korai ware tea bowl made in the Korean Peninsula. The white spots emerging from the pink surface and tracks left by the flow of the bluish glaze give the piece many colors and patterns.
The base of the piece is carved strongly into the shape of a bamboo segment, and the inside of the base is gouged out into the shape of a mountain peak, which remains rising up quite high. About half of the base has been left unglazed, and finger marks from the glazing can still be seen.
It is thought that the inscription Hamachidori comes from the spotted pattern which formed during firing and resembles chidori (plovers) flying about on the hama (water’s edge), as well as the bluish glaze, which also evokes a waterside scene. On the inside of the box’s cover, Enshu Kobori (1579–1647), one of the great masters of tea ceremony of the Edo period, wrote “Katate, Hamachidori“.
5. Black Glazed Tea Bowl, Setoguro Momoyama Period, 16th Century
This piece is a Setoguro tea bowl (plain black tea bowl made in Mino in the Momoyama period) which has had yobitsugi done. Yobitsugi is a ceramic repair technique by which a broken vessel is repaired using lacquer and ceramic shards from other vessels.
This piece is inscribed as Soshi, with “so” meaning “white” and “shi” meaning “black”. The writing on the box is by Shinzo Hosono (1872–1961), a tea ceremony master during the Meiji and Showa periods, and the signature of Endai, his pseudonym, can also be seen. Endai operated an oil dealership in Kanazawa and was an expert in tea ceremony, curios and antiques. He is also known as the person to discover Kitaoji Rosanjin and is said to be the last person of culture in Kanazawa.