2009年01月25日

Enter 2009 - Chawan National Treasures featured in Kateigaho 2008/11

Yohen Tenomoku Mikomi (Closeup).jpg
(Yohen Tenmoku Chawan 曜変天目, 12th - 13th Century, National Treasure -photo courtesy of Katei Gaho 2008 November Edition)

Welcome, 2009. May the new year bring much peace, happiness and prosperity to all.

2009 will be an impressively busy one for us at Toku Art and Yufuku Gallery. Perhaps the highlight of the year will be our 2nd consecutive participation at London's Collect Art Fair, to take place from May 14th to 17th at the brand new Saatchi Gallery. We will be bringing several jaw-dropping works, made specially for the show, by an array of leading contemporary Japanese artists, and I'm confident that we will be building on the success of our debut. Please stay tuned for updates on works to be exhibited during the show - our artists are currently placing the finishing touches to their Collect pieces, and a final lineup will be selected this February.

What's more, we've penciled in several solo exhibitions that are firsts for our gallery, and will be in some ways a departure from our classic lineup. Much excitement is in store.

In the meantime, I thought one might enjoy a prelude to contemporary beauty in the 21st century by shining a light towards the treasures borne from history.

Enter, kokuho (国宝 national treasures).

It's not very often that I read Katei Gaho, the preeminent and venerable woman's monthly that has expounded the virtues of traditional Japanese culture for quite some time. Admittedly, the only interaction I have with the rather bulky magazine is whilst waiting for my turn at the dentist's (of course, reading the magazine is hardly as excruciating).

That said, I am often impressed with their choice of subject matter, and for hard-core enthusiasts of Japanese ceramics and the way of tea, I would go so far as to say that it may very well be worth subscribing to, simply for its photography of some of the great works of Japanese art.

Take, for example, their November 2008 issue which featured a rapturous ode to the beauty of tea bowls designated by Japan as national treasures.

I applaud the editors for attempting to shoot these works so very close and personal, as if we're actually holding the works in our hands. We can almost feel their warmth upon our fingertips, and their beauty pours through its pages. Although I would have preferred that they not use artificial lighting, the images are breathtaking, nonetheless.

For those who've never seen the kodai foot ring of Koetsu's Fujisan, or who've never noticed how its rustic body glistens every so softly, or who've never realized (until this feature) that Koetsu's work was the first work ever in Japan to be coupled with a tomobako wooden box signed by the artist himself --- behold!

Fujisan Raku Chawan 1(Koetsu).jpg Fujisan Raku Chawan Closeup.jpg
(Raku Teabowl, named Fujisan 不二山, 17th Century, National Treasure)

Fujisan Raku Chawan Kodai (Koetsu).jpgFujisan Raku Chawan Tomobako (Koetsu).jpg
(The historic Fujisan box, written by the legendary Honami Koetsu 本阿弥光悦, and its sublime foot ring)

Likewise, the magnificent Yohen Tenmoku's mikomi (inner well) is more than just entrancing; it is, quite simply, an universe unto itself.

These images were scanned manually and in haste. For those who were inspired by the featured works, I highly recommend purchasing the November 2008 edition of Katei Gaho. Simply for these few images, the issue is well worth bringing home.

From eastern skies,

Wahei Aoyama 青山和平
Toku Art Limited

Taihi Tenmoku Chawan 1.jpg Taihi Tenmoku Chawan 2.jpg
(Taihisan Sanka Tenmoku Chawan 玳皮盞散花天目, 12th to 13 Century, National Treasure)

(All images courtesy of Katei Gaho, Sekai Bunkasha Inc. )



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