Potter: Suzuki Toshiyuki
Approximate size: W2.4″ by H2.2″ or 6.0 by 5.6cm
This stylish tenmoku or oilspot guinomi, saké cup was made by the now retired potter Suzuki Toshiyuki. For me this cup has that unique look of guinomi of the Edo period, low and wide. It was coated with a vibrant blue oilspot on the outside with a clean white glaze on the inside. Suzuki Toshiyuki is accredited with the revival of Daisen ware. He build his own climbing kiln in 1981 and named it Kuko-gama. He received the title of ‘Dentou-Kougei-shi’ for his works, which loosely translates the title of ‘traditional skill holder’, of Tottori prefecture. This guinomi is an excellent example of one of this artists main area’s of focus.
In and around Tottori’s locale are about 30 different kilns, many of these have inherited the techniques and traditions from previous generations. This area has seen pottery production going back to the Jõmon period.. There are also potters who practiced and developed contemporary, and modern styles. Pottery production in this area focuses on celadon and tenmoku glaze.
1965 Studied under the sandai, third generation Suwa Sozan
1970 Daisen yaki kiln established
1981 Builds the Kuko-gama climbing kiln
Research into manufacture of ancient ‘china’, mainly on ken-yo and tenmoku glazes
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 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 also known as Nihonto (‘nihon’ means Japanese and ‘to’, swords). It can be said that his Tamahagane-yo tenmoku glaze was this artist his specialty and most acclaimed works. I can only guess and imagine how interesting this potter’s personal notes and research must be.
Daisen ware is said to have been 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. 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.
This guinomi has been used a few times. There are no chips or cracks and condition is excellent. 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.
€250 + shipping cost
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.