Tea Bowl with Pine Tree Design

  • Kyoto
  • Edo period
  • 18c
  • Kenzan ware, underglaze decoration
  • H-7.3 D-9
Catalogue Entry

Edo period, 18th century
Kenzan ware, underglaze decoration
Height, 7.3cm; mouth diameter, 9.3cm;
foot diameter, 4.7cm

This bowl was spatula-carved from waist down while being turned on the potter's wheel, and it has a carved foot. Only the exterior surface was brushed with white slip, and after a painting of pine trees in underglaze blue and iron was applied, the bowl was coated with a transparent glaze. Considering the overall proportions and the foot carving, this tea bowl closely resembles a group of glazed works with soft-body clay which were excavated along with Momoyama-period tea ceramics at an archaeological site in Kyoto city.
These works can also be compared to the Oshikoji ware works that are published in Ogata Kenzan's Toko hitsuyo (Edo densho), and according to this book, a person named Magobei, who was an Oshikoji ware potter, also participated in the opening of Kenzan's Narutaki kiln. The resemblance between the works of these two men can be explained by the fact that potters like Magobei were part of the Kenzan ware studio.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the Kenzan ware's cosmetic use of white slip to cover the surface also existed among these soft-bodied glazed ceramic works, indicating that the technical primer for Kenzan ware existed not only in such ceramic technique books as Toko hitsuyo, but also in the works themselves. YO