Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Koudai and Chops

Deishi Guinomi Kodei

Personally I really like viewing the Koudai or feet of a piece, as I feel it really helps me get to know the piece so much better. In fact I have many pieces some basically completely coated in glaze and others with a nicely and fully exposed foot. I personally like being able to feel the fired clay and view the composition of the clay. This also goes for the artist mark, and I am not fond of pieces in which the artist mark or chop has been completely covered by glaze.

Seigan Sansai Square Foot Guinomi

For example this piece rather rubs me the wrong way, the foot is nearly completely covered in glaze and most confusing is while there is some exposed clay at the very bottom of the foot, the carved area in the center which normally bears the stamp of the artist is completely glazed, and in a black glaze so I can not even make out any sign of an artist stamp.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Daisen Yaki

Suzuki Sakazuki

Daisen Yaki or Daisen Ware, has honestly eluded my best efforts to learn about it. Hindered most likely by my nearly nonexistent Japanese language skills. So far I know of only one vendor that offers Daisen Yaki to the west, that being Magokorodo, so I actually contacted him with several questions trying to learn more about this type of Japanese ceramic ware.

I honestly view the response to my questions as a bit of a puzzle, I have enough experience in foreign languages to know that it is completely different from being able to read another language, then being able to write in it in a way that is completely understandable to a native speaker of that language. That being said I think in my correspondence with the vendor things got lost in translation in several steps, which may fuel me to try and improve my Japanese. But I have honestly been rereading the message a few times a week trying to gleam as much as I can from it.

Suzuki Yunomi

My questions focused on whether or not T. Suzuki is the only artist producing Daisen Yaki, as his works are the only pieces I have ever seen labeled as such. While I still can not gleam from the vendors response an exact answer to that question the more I read it the more I understand about Japanese Ceramics in general. Some things I have already known such as the names of most types of pottery focus on the region in which they are produced. Although there are many different kilns all over Japan and only a few of them have any sort of wide spread notority, and even fewer are known for consistently producing top notch works of art.

So I am looking forward to acquiring more Daisen Yaki pieces, currently I have the two pictured in this post. The most amazing thing is how incredibly different these two pieces are.

HouDe DHP in Suzuki Sakazuki

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Like what you buy and buy what you like

Full Pot

So every new tea drinker somehow hears about the magical qualities of Yixing. I am not to say they do not exist, but with Yixing I feel it should really be a personal desire to use these pots or not. I just sold 3 of my Yixing pots, and I have plans to try and find homes for the rest sometime in the future. But in short I have decided Gaiwans are by far preferred by me, for Chinese tea.

That is not to say I never got joy from yixing, I enjoyed watching the pots develop a patina slowly through use, much like I enjoy watching my hagi yaki change slowly through use. It just has to do with the fact that yixings never sang to me like Japanese and Korean ceramics.

The short summation of my experience with Yixing, the right pot will compliment the right tea, but then in the end you are not really enjoying the tea as it is somehow slightly changed by the yixing. Then you run into some worrying questions such as "does this tea taste good because it is being brewed in this pot?" or "would this tea taste better if brewed in a different vessel?"

Some people enjoy the hunt of matching the perfect yixing teapots with the perfect tea's, I am not one of those people. So I will stick with my love of other ceramics.