2007年09月14日

A New Torch-Bearer of Tea Ceramics for the 21st Century

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(The 4th Yamada Jozan)

Tokoname, as many of you may know, is one of the Six Old Kilns (六古窯 Rokkoyo) of Japan, as somewhat haphazardly categorized by the late Koyama Fujio (小山富士夫 1900-1975) a long, long time ago (the 50's, I believe).

It continues to be a center for pottery, yet unfortunately, only two great ceramicists have emerged from the region in the past half-century to capture the hearts of both fan and critic on a national level.

One such artist is Ezaki Issei (江崎一生 1918-1992), who revived the lost techniques of the ancient kiln site and brought forth pottery of such grace that even the legendary Kamoda Shoji (加守田章二 1933-1983) was enraptured.

The other artist was Yamada Jozan III(三代目山田常山 1924-2006), who was the undisputed master of kyusu (tea pots for brewing sencha green tea) in all of Japan. He was designated a Living National Treasure in 1998 for his exceptional art, which fully embodied the term Yo-no-bi(用の美), or beauty derived from functionality. In essence, he propelled this utilitarian vessel into art.

The same can be said for the new Jozan, Yamada Jozan IV (四代目山田常山 formerly Emu 旧名絵夢 1954-), who has assumed his father's title in 2006 after his passing.

The new Jozan brings much of his father's aesthetics to his own works, creating a vast array of Tokoname red clay kyusu and yakishime (high-fired ash-glazed) works that are unquestionably a family heritage.

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Yet whereas in his father's works could be seen a strength of character, Jozan IV builds on this strength with a sense of playful delicateness that exemplifies the artist's gentle nature.

Many may not know that a teapot is an incredibly difficult utensil to make, requiring an immaculate sense of balance and precision. Jozan IV has it all.

If any of you enjoy Japanese tea (or even Western styles, for that matter) and do not yet possess a proper teapot, I highly recommend Jozan's work for not only their artistry, but for their exceptional functionality.

The kyusu are incredibly light, easy to hold, and will not only make tea taste better, but will be a pleasure to own and use. You will simply not find a finer teapot outside of Japan.

Also of note are his plates and platters, which are fantastic for fine cuisine.

A quality exhibition of Jozan IV's new works are on display at Tokyo's Yufuku Gallery starting from Sept. 13th - 22nd. This is the first time that Jozan will be exhibiting to an international audience under his new name. Please find individual photos of all exhibited pieces here.

Please also find photos of some of the work still available below. For enquiries on a particular piece, please contact me at info@toku-art.com.

From eastern skies,

Wahei Aoyama 青山和平
Toku Art Limited

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posted by Toku Art Limited at 14:12| Comment(0) | Yamada Jozan IV (Tokoname) | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

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