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Posted on 13th May 2020
Kato Shuntai (1802-1877) and Hirasawa Kuro (1772-1840)
At the beginning of the 19th century, one of the most influential figures in Owari pottery was born: 10th Kato Nihei, known as Shuntai.
It is said that Shuntai served the clan when he was only 15 years old. This coincided with the timing of the revival of Ofuke-ware when the feudal lord Saito began to maintain the Ofuke Imperial Garden. Around this time, the person who discovered Shuntai in his youth began his retirement.
In Kyouwa 11 (1801), Hirasawa Kuro retired from active life and moved to the Koganagaya Garden in Joto Kiyomizu-sakashita. He was enjoying a slow life while he built a teahouse called Konjaku-an and Jiou-an.
In addition to the tea ceremony, Kuro also enjoyed kneading clay, pulling the pottery wheel, and making pottery. In addition to Shuntai, other potters such as Tosaburo, Toyosuke 3rd, and Shunetsu were taught pottery making by Kuro. It is said that the disciple who was most favored by Kuro was Shuntai, who was in his fifties and Shuntai in his twenties, so they were as far apart as father and son in their relationship.
The tea pottery made by Kuro became popular among tea ceremony masters, such as "Mizusashi Kuro", a water container made by Kuro, which was mentioned in the tea ceremony records of those days. The Furu-seto glazed water jar was one of Kuro's representative works, and he also made a variety of other ceramics such as Oribe tea bowls and Shino tea bowls, and Mukozuke tea ceremony dish plates.
Naturally, these are reflections of Kuro's preferences, and it is thought that Shuntai was given considerable guidance and training in the process of creating them.
In the 19th century, Ofuke-ware was actively producing "copies of masterpieces of the Owari clan". A particularly striking example is the "Mishima-de" vessel. In the Owari family, Mishima Oke, a tea bowl praised as "the unrivaled masterpiece", has been passed down through to the present day and this copy was also made. In addition to the above, tea bowl "Fuji-bakama", and a straw bag-shaped tea bowl used by the second lord of the Owari clan, Mitsutomo, were produced as high-quality works among the Ofuke-ware in that period, and were treated with respect and passed down to the present day.
It was published on the web pages of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Tokugawa Art Museum, so I would like to introduce you to it.
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