Gisui Honshudei Clay Tokoname Sujihiki Kyusu

Kondo Yoshikazu

Potter: Gisui Kondo, Kondo Yoshikazu

Approximate size: W5.9″ by H4.5″ or 15.0 by 11.5 cm

This is a special, relatively large Tokoname kyusu or tea pot by famous master-potter Gisui Kondo (often abbreviated to Gisui). Gisui’s real name is Kondo Yoshikazu and he has been recognized by the government as a Traditional Craftsman. This kyusu is created from honshudei clay, one of the staples of Tokoname ware but these days sparsely available. During the urbanization of Tokoname as was the case in other cities, the new living areas were built on parcels previously used as rice paddies. In old times clay was gathered from under those rice fields. Honshudei clay has become sparse and sought for in modern times. Sometimes potters acquire honshudei clay from old batches that are held in storage and other times when new honshudei clay is sourced in the area. Honshudei clay has a yellowish-brown colour, that turns red during firing thanks to its high iron content and with daily use the surface ages and gradually becomes smoother and shinier. The term ‘sujihiki’ refers to the lines visible on the body, the remnants of throwing the body of the tea pot on the potter’s wheel. The spiraling lines merge into each other, creating a charming tea pot with a plump appearance and snug character.

Pottery made in Tokoname dates back to the 12th century. During the Heian period, what is now called Tokoname ware was already part of daily life. A kiln known as the Takasaka kiln was built in the 14th century. Towards the end of the Edo period in the late 19th century, Koie Hokyu completed a chambered “climbing kiln” (nobori-gama). The excellent reputation of modern Tokoname ware was established by his son Koie Hoju. He laid the foundations for earthenware pipe making and introduced the red ware for which the town became renowned. A statue was later put up in his honour in the town.

1947 Born in Osaka
Certified as a Master of Traditional Craftsman
Certified as a Teacher of All Sencha-Dou Assoc. Gyokusen Style
2002 Gisui Ceramic Art School
Imperial Household Agency Tenohira-ten profession purveyor
2019 Awarded “The Order of the Sacred Treasure – Silver Rays”

In the years between 2002 and 2019 Gisui received a wide selection of prizes, such as the Gold Prize at the Choza Award Ceramic Art Exhibition – no less than 4 times, the runner up or Silver Prize 4 times and the Japan Traditional Crafts Exhibition Association Chair Prize. Further prized with the Ceramics Design Competition, 3 times at the Tableware Exhibition, Traditional Industry Expert Governor Award, Traditional Industry Contributor Governor Award, Local Industry Promotion Ceramic Exhibition Economy and the Trade and Industry Minister Award

This kyusu is in mint condition and has no chips or cracks. Signed by the potter below the handle. Comes with the original high quality tomobako or storage box. Signed on the lid and includes a dedicated tomonunu or tea cloth.


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Seto, Echizen, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tamba, and Bizen are referred to as the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan. The development of these kilns and pottery techniques, some dating to the prehistoric Jomon period, have been preserved and represent an important contribution to the world of ceramics. In these towns, evocative remnants of large and small kilns still dot the hills surrounding the towns, while maze-like backstreets, artfully decorated with walls of ceramic shards and kiln tools, lead to numerous ceramic studios. Walking through the narrow alleyways, led on by the smoke rising from brick-walled chimneys is to rediscover the elegant simplicity of Japanese aesthetics and feel the traditions and history of these ancient kilns.