KAWAKITA HANDEISHI (1878-1963)
Slumped vessel (tsubo) with thin white-slip glaze and impressed finger patterning
Glazed stoneware with original box
5 1/8 x 6 1/2 in.
Box title: Tsubo; jar (on cover)
Fukubukuro toi; Good fortune bag (inside cover)
Box signature: Handeishi
Box seal: Artist’s mark
Kawakita Handeishi (1878-1963) was one of the most impactful artists on the Japanese tea world. A prosperous banker who held several important financial positions, he also found time for calligraphy, painting, poetry, and photography. In 1942, he established the artist discussion group Karahinekai and supported group members Kaneshige Tōyō, Arakawa Toyozō, and Miwa Kyuūwa, who all became LNT. At the age of fifty, Kawakita turned exclusively to the world of clay, as a scholar and patron and eventually, as a potter himself. His very personal and delightful teabowls and teaware have influenced many young ceramists, who in turn have become masters themselves.
This charmingly irreverent ‘slumped’ tsubo (vessel) reveals Kawakita’s unencumbered approach to clay. He was not constrained by old patterns and conventions, having not come from a family of potters, and was boundless in his creativity and ceaseless in his exploration. What would have been considered a failure by others, Kawakita embraces quite literally, as his myriad fingerprints and handprints have created an unusual patterning and rough textures in the uneven glaze. Kawakita’s sense of humor is also evident in his title: Fukubukoro toi (Bag of Good Fortune).
Enomoto, T., ed. Kawakita Handeishi no subete (All About Kawakita Handeishi). Gifu: Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu and Asahi Shimbun, 2009.
Hayashiya, Seizo, ed. Gendai Nihon no tōgei dai san kan (Contemporary Japanese Ceramics: Masters of Classic Revival, Vol. 3). Tokyo: Kodansha, 1983, pp. 9-21, 123-127.
Kawakita Hendeishi monogatari (The Story of Kawakita Handeishi: His Life and Art). Osaka: Asahi Shimbunsha and Abeno Harukas Art Museum, 2014.