Mitsuo Kano Tenmoku Chawan

Potter: Kano Mitsuo

Approximate size: W5.0″ by H2.8″ or 12.8 by 7.2cm

Presented today is this fine, understated tenmoku chawan or ceremonial tea bowl made by master-potter Mitsuo Kano (1903-1970). This type of colour and pattern of tenmoku glaze is often called ‘hare’s fur’. From the condition one might suspect this bowl to be made late in his life but it could be as old as 60 or 70 years considering his style of work compared to this first class tenmoku chawan. Younger brother of Kano Matsutani, Kano Matsuo tried to widen his artistic influence and mastery compared to his noted brother.

Kano Mitsuo studied under Komori Shinobu (1889-1962) and at the Kyoto City Pottery Research School. His work is represented in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others. He received the Ministry of Education Grand Prize in 1998.

Prior to the war when the Nitten was still the Imperial Exhibition, he submitted his work with success and a little later, in 1948 through 1952, he participated in the formation of the famed Sodeisha group (led by Yagi Kazu). Which concluded in the formation of the Hakuhokai Assocation, which included many famed potters including Kusube Yaichi, Miyashita Yoshitoshi, the sandai or third generation Toyama Ito, Asami Ryuzo and a number of other artists. In 1967, he won the 10th Nitten Exhibitions Minister of Education Award, one of the most coveted prizes. For decades this artist dominated the competitive scene.

Famous works sold for high prices at auction houses such as Christie’s both before and after his passing and this chawan is a steal! He won the Blue-Ribbon award of one of the most famous Japanese Art Exhibitions, Nitten Exhibition in 1949.

The chawan has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. It appears to be unused. This work has a calm yet imposing haki. Comes with the original signed paulownia tomobako, wooden storage box.

This chawan has an air of elegance about it. This bowl would be most at home in a serene setting.


Thank you very much!

After the end of the Pacific war the attribute Imperial was no longer trendy. Everything was reorganized and renamed. In 1946 the Imperial Art Academy became The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition, abbreviated as Nitten. The Nitten has developed into a large organization. Today the Nitten has five art faculties, Japanese Style Painting, Western Style Painting, Sculpture, Craft as Art and Calligraphy.

Mitsuo Kano won the Blue-ribbon award at the great Nitten Exhibition in 1974 and in 1976. This is the highest award for potters entering this famously career-making competition.