Potter: Suzuki Toshiyuki
Approximate size: W2.4″ by H2.2″ or 6.0 by 5.6cm
This shinbashi-iro – turquoise oilspot guinomi, saké cup was made by the now retired potter Suzuki Toshiyuki (1944-). He build his own kiln in the seventies and a climbing kiln titled Kuko-gama in 1981. Besides being a well regarded artist he is also accredited with the revival of Daisen ware. He received the title of ‘Dentou-Kougei-shi’ for his work, which loosely translates to title of ‘traditional skill holder’, in Tottori prefecture.
In Tottori prefecture, there are about 30 different kilns, many of these have inherited the techniques and tradition from previous generations and the history goes back to ancient times. There are also other potters who practiced and developed contemporary or modern styles of their own. Pottery production in this area focusses on celadon and tenmoku type glazes.
1965 Studied under the sandai, third generation Suwa Sozan
1970 Daisen yaki kiln established
1981 Builds the Kuko-gama climbing kiln
Research into manufactory of ancient ‘china’, namely ken-yo and tenmoku glaze
1983 Toshiyuki Suzuki completes his tenmoku Tamahagane-yo iron glaze
1989 Establishing a basic theory of firing iron glaze by reduction wood-firing
Mount Daisen is a volcano in Tottori Prefecture, Japan. It has an elevation of 1729 meters and is the highest in the Chūgoku region. And the biggest of those situated on the Daisen volcanic belt.
It is interesting to note that Mt. Daisen, which stands directly on the Sea of Japan, was regarded as one of the most important mountains in the Japanese Shugendō religion. Halfway up the mountain stands a Buddhist temple called Daisen-ji and has served as the center of worship in the region for well over a thousand years.
Toshiyuki Suzuki is best known for his work with tenmoku oilspot, blue porcelain, kin-yo and ash glazes and perhaps above all the research he did into glazing pottery with a pure metal coating created from ‘tamahagane’, better known as the high quality iron ore used for the creation of traditional Japanese swords known as Nihonto (based on ‘nihon’ meaning Japanese and ‘to’ meaning swords). It can be said that his Tamahagane-yo tenmoku glaze was this artist’s specialty and most acclaimed technique.
Daisen ware is said to have started with the first of 12 generations around the area of the Daisen temple, where a Zen-Ku chief priest started to create pottery. This temple continued to create Daisen ware up to and briefly into the Taisho era where it eventually perished completely. Toshiyuki Suzuki revived this type of pottery with the opening of Kuko-gama. His works are prized for the original simplicity that Daisen ware was said to have.
Personally I was attracted to the intricate patterns and looking at it my imagination runs wild thinking of the flow of heat during the firing and process the glaze underwent. I can only guess and fantasize on how interesting this potter’s personal notes and research must be!
Sadly Toshiyuki Suzuki lost his eyesight a couple of years back due to an advancing degenerative eye disease. The disease got worse each year up to the point where he could no longer see enough to continue potting and had to stop entirely. Today the only 2 people who inherit his advanced glazing knowledge and techniques are his son Harumichi and his wife. This is one of the last works by this potter that was offered.
The guinomi is unused and sealed by the potter. There are no chips or cracks and condition is mint. Comes with the original paulownia tomobako, storage box with kiln stamp and calligraphy on the lid, a pamphlet with additional information and a dedicated tomonuno or tea cloth.
€220 + shipping cost