Potter: Soshu Yamamoto
Approximate size: W2.7″ by H2.9″ or 7.0 by 7.5 cm
This is a quality Bizen yunomi or tea cup made by the female potter Soshu Yamamoto. Finely shaped and expertly fired, evidenced by the fine shapes and hues acquired through wood-firing. This almost silvery sheen is termed ‘sangiri’. Soshu Yamamoto is the wife of Bizen Living National Treasure Toshu Yamamoto. Together they work from the Bishuu-gama or Bishuu kiln in Bizen. The Bishuu-gama kiln and workshop were founded in 1974 at the suggestion of the famous Living National Treasure Toshu Yamamoto by his eldest son, Yuichi and his wife.
Bizen is one of the six oldest remaining Japanese pottery traditions. In that town, for more than one thousand years, potters have been producing a sober yet strong looking wood fired ceramic. This rustic pottery whose age gives it a noble air is still popular today in Japanese homes and restaurants alike.
Main styles of Bizen pottery
Botamochi 牡丹餅 (rice ball)
round, often red spots created through surface masking, kiln placement and wood firing
Goma 胡麻 (sesame seed)
glaze produced by kiln placement and ashes melting in the heat of the kiln
a rice straw wrapping, containing salt, typically producing bands of red colour
Ao Bizen 青備前
acquires various blue hues due to wrapping with rice straw, kiln placement and reduction during wood firing
shiny metallic blue sheen acquired, often randomly through reduction during wood firing
Kuro Bizen 黒備前 (black Bizen)
black colours achieved through use of clay and kiln placement, typically associated with ancient Bizen ware made in Imbe village during the 12th century
Bizen ware is a type of Japanese pottery most identifiable by its iron-like hardness, reddish brown color, absence of glaze and markings resulting from wood-burning kiln firing.
Bizen clay has a high iron content and traditionally a lot of organic matter in it that is unreceptive to glazing. The clay can take many forms while retaining its strength. The surface treatments of Bizen wares are entirely dependent on yohen or kiln effects produced by the firing. Pine ash produces goma, or “sesame seed” glaze and rice straw wrapped around pieces creates red and brown scorch marks called hidasuki. The placement of pieces in a kiln causes them to be fired under different conditions, with a variety of different results. Considering that one clay body and type of firing is used, the variety of results is remarkable.
The cup is signed, has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. Comes with the original quality paulownia tomobako, cord-wrapped storage box with kiln stamp and calligraphy on either side of the lid.
€125 + shipping cost