Potter: Shibaoka Masashi
Approximate size: W4.9″ by H3.0″ or 12.4 by 7.6 cm
This chawan was made by Masashi Shibaoka (1946-), a potter recognized by the Japanese government as a traditional craftsman in Bizen in 2008 (he is now the 3rd Kozan Shibaoka). Following tradition, he was born in the family of Shibaoka Kozan . During his youth he studied in Kyoto but then returned to Okayama prefecture to work under his fathers tutelage. He has since been displayed at the Nihon Dento Kogei Ten (Japanese Traditional Crafts Exhibition), among others.
This type of surface work is called ‘migaki-te” and it is seen nearly exclusively on high-quality items. In general the surface texture of Bizen ware is rough and unrefined but after migaki-te it becomes refined and smooth to the touch. This type of technique is not seen on ordinary Bizen pieces.
Main styles of Bizen pottery
Goma 胡麻 (lit. “sesame seed) – glaze produced by ashes melting in the heat of the kiln
Hidasuki 緋襷 – rice straw wrapped around an object
Ao Bizen 青備前 – acquires various blue hues due to the amount of reduction during firing
Bizen ware has many facets but to see so many come together on one object isn’t often seen. This chawan shows a Ao, or blue side, followed by a typical Goma or sesame transition showing the path of the flames it endured during firing (even going into a dark purple stream generally considered a trait of another Living National Treasure potter in Bizen-yaki – Yu Fujiwara). What makes the exterior stand out even further is the migaki-te polishing it was given, giving it a high gloss on the exterior.
The interior is typical Bizen in yet another often seen trait or technique called hidasuki, which are the patterns left when it was dressed in cords made from rice straw that burned away during firing of the kiln. Often this is strung around the outside but here it was only placed on the inside. The bowl is finished with an irregular cut koudai which makes this chawan near perfectly balanced. Controlling all aspects of firing to create this chawan I consider this to be a masterwork.
The chawan has no chips or cracks and is in excellent, near mint condition. Comes with the original high quality paulownia tomobako, or storage box with calligraphy by Masashi.