KITAŌJI ROSANJIN (1883-1959)
Oribe type glazed fan-shaped dish with motif of skewered mochi
Glazed stoneware with original box
2 7/8 x 11 1/8 x 9 3/4 in.
Potter’s mark: Rosanjin (on base)
Box title: Afugi bachi; fan-shaped dish (on cover)
Box signature: Rosanjin
Box seal: Ro
In his own words, Kitaōji Rosanjin (1883-1959) came to ceramics as a gourmand. Dissatisfied with the tableware options for presenting elegant cuisine, Rosanjin set about making them himself. Among Tokyo's wealthy elites, he was renowned for the membership-only eating club that he opened in 1921 above his antiques shop, and for which he oversaw not only the cuisine but also the serving vessel production for its table at a nearby kiln. He did not want to imitate traditional forms and glazes, though, but instead ‘remixed’ the elements in surprising ways that were defiantly unconventional.
“Rosanjin sought to devour, digest, and reprocess the ceramic tradition of the Momoyama period
in its entirety.”
- Louise Cort, curator emerita of the Freer Sackler, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
in Isamu Noguchi and Modern Japanese Ceramics: A Close Embrace of the Earth (2003), p. 129.
After its destruction in the Kanto 1923 earthquake, Rosanjin soon opened another exclusive gourmet dining club nearby, the famed Hoshigaoka-saryo. His goal at this time was to elevate the fine dining experience through the presentation on the ideal dish or vessel.
This decorated fan-shaped dish is classic Oribe style, with copper-green glaze applied asymmetrically along the top and bottom, exposing the playful, idiosyncratic painted design. The central decorations of skewered mochi (sticky rice balls) are echoed in the patterning along the high, raised sides. Three roughly formed feet on the bottom frame his bold calligraphic signature.
For similar works:
Cardozo, Sidney B. Rosanjin: 20th Century Master Potter of Japan. Exhibition catalog. New York: Japan Society, 1972, p. 66, pl. 58.
Kitaōji Rosanjin ten, edited by Kanagawa Prefecture Museum of Modern Art and National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Kyoto: Kyoto Shimbun, 1988, pl. 141.
Yoshida, Kozo and Elise Grilli. The Ceramic Art of Kitaōji Rosanjin. Kyoto: Benri Do, 1964, pl. 9.