KATŌ TŌKURŌ (1898-1985)
Iron-red Shino-glazed columnar waterjar with two pinched waists and broad mouth
Glazed stoneware with lacquer cover and original box
8 1/4 x 6 3/8 in.
Potter’s Mark: Ichimusai (carved on base)
Box Title: Beni-shino mizusashi; Iron-red shino waterjar (on cover) shōwa yonjūrokunen rokugatsu nijūroku nichi kama; Exhibited June 26, 1971 (inside cover)
Signed: Ichimusai (Tokurō’s pseudonym)
Exhibited: Tōgei Tōkuro (Tōkuro’s Ceramics). Mainichi Shimbun, 1986. Katō Tōkuro, Shigetaka, Takahiro Kamagure sandai (Katō Tōkuro, Shigetaka, Takahiro, Three generations). Musée Tomo, 2008.
As a teenager, Katō Tōkurō (1898-1985) inherited his father’s kiln in historic Seto, and over his lifetime, he would become a master of a wide range of ceramic styles, including Shino, Oribe, ki-Seto, Kōrai (Korean), Iga, and Shigaraki. Through years of experimentation, he successfully recreated the techniques for these historical ceramic styles. His Oribe technique was designated an Intangible Cultural Property in 1952. A scholar of Japanese ceramic history, Katō’s research has redefined our understanding of the origins of Seto ceramics, and his dedication to international cultural exchange helped promote Japanese ceramics around the world. During his career, Katō served on a number of influential art organizations and committees, including the Japan Ceramic Society and Japan Crafts Association.
His beni-Shino (red Shino) waterjar showcases his bold and powerful style. The delicate range of red tones he successfully achieved in the body is paired with the thickly dripping white Shino glaze that clings to the horizontal bands of the surface. Beneath the creamy white glaze, the additional wavy line carved along the top band of the mizusashi (waterjar) adds to the sense of movement on the surface of this dramatic vessel.
Katō Tōkurō. Mie: Paramita Museum, 2003.
Mino Tea Wares: Kiseto, Setoguro, Shino, and Oribe. Tokyo: Suntory Museum, 2019, pp. 93-102, pl. 78-87.
Tomo Collection, Waga kokoro no tōgei. Musée Tomo. Tokyo: Kikuchi Foundation, 2006, p. 23.