Mitsuo Kano Shiro Chawan

Potter: Kano Mitsuo

Approximate size: W5.0″ by H2.8″ or 12.8 by 7.2cm

This is an elegant white chawan or ceremonial tea bowl made by the celebrated potter Mitsuo Kano (1903-1970). Art seems to have ran in the family as his brother became a noted artist as well. Born as the younger brother of Kano Matsutani its no surprise they encouraged each-other. Although their work is different from one another, being that Kano Mitsuo had an interest for a wide range of techniques and methods used in the making of pottery. His brother’s artistic influence had been more specific and he focused fully on a select number of techniques for his entire career. Mitsuo having experienced a more diverse curriculum in his formative years, the work he left shows several styles.

Kano Mitsuo studied under Komori Shinobu (1889-1962) and at the Kyoto City Pottery Research School. His work is represented in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others. He received the Ministry of Education Grand Prize in 1998.

In a more open form compared to a different chawan by Kano Mitsuo. Where the formerly mentioned chawan has a clear tenmoku shape. Here the bowl is made low and wide. One might call this a transition from formal Korean to what we now recognize as a summer type chawan. It has a soft creamy white glaze with what could be called an inverse hakame decoration. Where hakame describes the addition of a brush stroke, often around the exterior and/of interior. Here instead of creating stripes with a brush, here a stroke pattern is added by touching the glaze while turning the bowl. It has a surprisingly soft appearance and when held, a translucent layer that seems to cover the creamy white glaze makes the piece really pleasing.

After the end of the Pacific war the attribute Imperial was no longer trendy. Everything was reorganized and renamed. In 1946 the Imperial Art Academy became The Japan Fine Arts Exhibition, abbreviated as Nitten. The Nitten has developed into a large organization. Today the Nitten has five art faculties, Japanese Style Painting, Western Style Painting, Sculpture, Craft as Art and Calligraphy.

Mitsuo Kano won the Blue-ribbon award at the great Nitten Exhibition in 1974 and in 1976. The highest award for potters entering this famously career-making competition.

Prior to the war when the Nitten was still the Imperial Exhibition, he submitted his work with success and shorty after, in the years 1948 through 1952 he participated in the formation of the famed Sodeisha group (led by Yagi Kazu). Which concluded in the formation of the Hakuhokai Assocation, which included many famed potters including Kusube Yaichi, Miyashita Yoshitoshi, the sandai or third generation Toyama Ito, Asami Ryuzo and a number of other artists. In 1967, he won the 10th Nitten Exhibitions Minister of Education Award, one of the most coveted prizes. For decades this artist dominated the competitive scene.

In excellent condition and comes complete with the original high quality tomobako or storage box that bears the potter’s stamp and calligraphy on the lid. The bowl itself is stamped on the inside of the koudai or foot ring and comes wrapped in a tomonunu or tea cloth. A exemplary made piece that is appropriate for use during the greater part of the year and one that, due to its disarming presence is easily paired with the other utensils.


Thank you very much!

Famous works sold for high prices at auction houses such as Christie’s both before and after his passing and this chawan is a steal! He won the Blue-Ribbon award of one of the most famous Japanese Art Exhibitions, Nitten Exhibition in 1949.