Sasaki Yasoji Seto Oribe Chawan

Potter: Sasaki Yasoji

Approximate size: W4.5″ by H3.3″ or 11.5 by 8.5 cm

This chawan was made by exhibition potter Sasaki Yasoji (1926-). Sasaki Yasoji is most famous for his Tea-ceremony pottery in Oribe, Shino and Seto-guru style. Works from this master are featured in the Paris Museum amongst a significant number of other collections. This bowl is clearly created in Oribe style which is famous for the prominent use of green glaze, crude and seemingly simplistic designs coupled with loose, often purposefully distorted wheel-thrown forms.

The interior of the bowl has a carved kanji, presumably meaning ‘thread’ (research is ongoing)

Oribe is a visual style named after the late 16th century tea master Furuta Oribe (1544-1615). It’s most often seen in pottery, but extends to textiles and paintings. Oribe was of the Bushi class and not a potter however he also (like many other influential figures in Japan’s art history), something akin to an art director or designer. He embodied the spirit of wabi tea so completely that he was able to give it form in a truly new and unique vision. Boldly formed, often intentionally distorted chawan, decorated with green, black and brown glazes and abstract designs, appeared on the tea ceremony scene in Kyoto.


Pottery has been produced in the Mino area of Gifu prefecture since the Kamakura period (the end of the 12th century). The main names synonymous with Mino are Oribe, Shino and ki-Seto. It is said that Shino was the first ware to decorate its pieces with brush-drawn designs as shown on this example. Before the use of brush-drawn decorations potters had been carving, incising or were appliquéing their ideas and fantasies.

In 1926 Sasaki Yasoji was born into a family business centered around pottery molding. He went to and graduated from Tajimi Technical School in 1943 after which he focused primarily on creating his own pottery. He established a kiln titled Zuiko in Takayama, Toki City in 1967 and a second titled Kanzan in Gotomaki Ceramic Village 1949. He holds Zuiko kiln exhibitions at the Nagoya International Hotel every spring and at Mitsukoshi Department Store in Nihonbashi every autumn.

The motifs, taken from nature or other decorative patterns such as textiles, were ground-breaking in their bold informality. Casting aside Korean and Chinese influences, they were also entirely Japanese. It must have been this recognition of a new Japanese aesthetic that caused tea devotees to cherish Oribe ware. Its ability to capture something of the artistic and spiritual soul of Japan quickly spread throughout the country, and its mass popularity continues to this day.

The chawan, sealed by the potter has no chips or cracks and is in mint condition. Comes with the original high quality shiho san paulownia tomobako or storage box with calligraphy on the side, combined with his kiln mark, potters mark and additional identifiers. Topped of with a dedicated tomonuno or marked tea cloth. A lovely item, speaking to a highly important aspect of Japanese art and culture.

€320 + shipping cost