KITAŌJI ROSANJIN (1883-1959)
Set of five irregular circular plates decorated in a rinpa-style pattern of bamboo grasses in snow
Glazed stoneware with original box
Approx. 1 3/8 x 7 1/2 x 7 in. each
Potter’s mark: Ro (near base)
Box title: Yukisasa hira mukōzuke go; Set of Five Flat Plates with Bamboo Grasses in Snow
Box signature: Rosanjin
Box seal: Ro
Exhibited and published: Kitaōji Rosanjin ten (Tokyo: Bunyū Co. Ltd., 1997), p. 74, pl. 86. Exhibition travelled to Takashimaya (Nihonbashi, Kyoto, Yokohama, Osaka), Daiwa Kōrinbō (Kanazawa), and Matsuzakaya Museum (Nagoya), 1997-1998.
Before Kitaōji Rosanjin (1883-1959) was a ceramist, or a renowned gourmand, he was a skilled calligrapher and seal engraver. His self-assuredness with a brush is evident in the delightful paintings on these five circular plates. Their brightly colored, abstract depictions of bamboo grasses, combined with the irregular bands of thickly applied white ‘snow’, lend them a distinctly modern feel nearly seventy years after their creation. Each plate is formed thinner on one side that tips toward the guest, invitingly offering the food to be eaten. Though fully functional, these plates show no signs of use.
"To be properly enjoyed, food must never be served in uninteresting dishes."
Dissatisfied with the tableware options for presenting elegant cuisine, Rosanjin set about making them himself for his exclusive eating club in Tokyo. It was for the table settings of this establishment that first prompted Rosanjin to personally focus on ceramic creation; indeed, many of his most luscious serving-vessels were made for presenting fine cuisine in that fashionable environment. “To be properly enjoyed, food must never be served in uninteresting dishes,” Rosanjin declared (from The Art of Rosanjin, by S.B. Cardozo and M. Hirano, trans. J.W. Carpenter, 1987).
For similar works:
Kitaōji Rosanjin – bishoku motenashi no geijyutsu. Exhibition catalog. Tokyo: Asahi Shimbun Bunka Kikaku Kyoku, 1996, p. 107, pl. 72.
Kitaōji Rosanjin ten, edited by Kanagawa Prefecture Museum of Modern Art and National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Kyoto: Kyoto Shimbun, 1988, pl. 97.