KITAŌJI ROSANJIN (1883-1959)
Nezumi-shino type straight-sided teabowl with slightly flaring mouth, decorated with lattice patterning
Glazed stoneware with original box made by Yūsai
3 3/8 x 4 5/8 in.
Potter’s mark: Ro (on base)
Box title: Shino chawan (on cover)
Box signature: Ro
O (oite) Shōwa sanjū-san nen, Takashimaya, happyō ten (For 1958 Takashimaya exhibition), Yūsai (on the bottom of the box)
While thought by many to be one of the greatest ceramists of the twentieth century, what Kitaōji Rosanjin (1883-1959) truly mastered was a vast array of styles, forms, and glazes. He did not come from a family of potters and so had to voraciously acquire knowledge, materials, and even the labor of extra hands to produce at the scale that would make him renowned. His omnivorous approach is evident in the sheer range of forms and variety of glazes within his oeuvre.
Rosanjin met Arakawa Toyozō, a future Living National Treasure in Shino ware, when Toyozō was the factory chief at the Higashiyama kiln in Kyoto. Rosanjin offered to double his salary to work for him instead. Following upon his interest in hunting for sherds around ancient kiln sites, an activity that Rosanjin supported, Arakawa was highly successful in recovering and recreating Shino glaze and other Mino techniques, which Rosanjin would go on to learn from him.
This straight-walled nezumi (mouse grey) Shino teabowl dates from the last years of Rosanjin’s life. Though characteristic of ancient types, with its successful application of iron wash underneath the Shino glaze, raised foot and slightly flaring mouth, the bold brushstrokes of the flora-like lattice patterning bear the unmistakable imprint of Rosanjin’s confident hand.
For similar works:
Cardozo, Sidney B. Rosanjin: 20th Century Master Potter of Japan. Exhibition catalog. New York: Japan Society, 1972, p. 66.
Isamu Noguchi and Kitaōji Rosanjin. Tokyo: Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa, 1996, p. 240, pl. 069. Exhibition traveled to Kochi Museum of Art, Kanagawa Prefecture Museum of Modern Art, and Fukuyama Museum of Art.
Kitaōji Rosanjin ten. Mie: Paramita Museum, 2005, pl. 11.