Custom Search

Monday, July 7, 2008


The mystery and mastery

By Robert Yellin
for The Japan Times, Oct. 10, 2001

Most of the Japanese ceramic styles are named after the city where they are made, as Mashiko in Tochigi Prefecture, while others with a family name as Raku. However, a style of pottery is named after a place that had nothing do to with their production.

Korean Bowl (co-Mishima Style)

Korean Bowl, co-style Mishima
15th to 16 Yi-century dynasty

Chawan of Edo period

Edo period Chawan
Calendar with motive

Mishima Oke (o-Meibutsu)

Mishima Oke (O-Meibutsu)
15th to 16 Century

Mishima is a city in Shizuoka Prefecture, that boasts magnificent views of Mount Fuji and is known primarily as a gateway to Hakone and the Izu Peninsula. As far back as 1636 there was a particular calendar published in the Grand Shrine of Mishima (Mishima Taisha) in a little distorted kana lines. Because the "rope curtain" designs from 15 to 16 Korean Punch'ong century stoneware resembled the lines of the calendar works of this pattern to be known as Mishima.

A glimpse into the world of Mishima pottery can be found at the Sano Museum in Mishima to October 22, 2001, in an exhibition entitled "Mishima-Karabakh Goyomi Mishima Chawan (From the Mishima calendar to the Mishima Chawan)."

The name may Mishima 17th Century, but the style itself goes back to the Koryo period (935-1392) bowls decorated in this way, if known, as Korai-jawan or Korai tea bowls. They were also inlaid with different motifs such as flowers and animal displays. A potter would incise the design in the body, fill it with contrasting colored clay or slip and then cover it with a transparent glaze. This technique culminated in Korea in the 12th and 13 Century Koryo celadons, as "first under heaven." It is also available as zogan.

Another style of storage called reverse inlay. This is the potter, where cuts away the background, so that the design in relief, then the background is brushed on with a slip and the excess is scraped away.

In his book "Korea's ceramic heritage, Vol.2," Edward B. Adams suggests that Korea on the main contribution to ceramics is the discovery of the inlay technology.

The late Japanese scholars Potter Koyama Fujio also had modest praise for Korean goods, when he declared: "The peace and subtlety of Korean ceramics are said to show the quintessence of the Oriental spirit, its quiet elegance, simplicity of form and style were Compared with the profound and noble spirit of Zen Buddhism, it is the feeling of loneliness from which a mysterious fascination springs. "

Tea master must have been also moved because they specifically ordered Korean chawan tea bowls, especially from 1639 to 1717, from the many kilns near the port city of Pusan. Many of them ended in Hakata or Kyoto and were often used as gifts from shoguns loyal to their daimyo. In fact, certain chawan would have the same value as large fiefdoms. Even today, command incredible sums in the order of $ 500000, if they ever on the market. Most of the current legal situation is not because they are the treasures of the many Japanese museums and private collectors privileged few.

The first mention of Mishima chawan comes in Eiroku 8 (1565) in a tea diary. But mi Kanji in this diary is that "see", while the city of Mishima uses the kanji for "three", all their importance as a "three islands". Some scientists therefore believe that the Mishima, for which the pottery has the name derives from an island off the coast of Yamaguchi named Mishima, his Kanji as "see". A resting place for trade, city-bound users of the tea bowls would only hear the name of the island "Mishima", without the Kanji. This ambiguity has caused some confusion and leaves one side of the unwritten history of Mishima ware.

The current exhibition has some famous Mishima chawan, including an O-Meibutsu ( "famous piece") named Mishima Oke. This chawan was once owned by the tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522-91) and is now in the collection of the Tokugawa Museum. The name is believed to come from its distinctive shape, Oke meaning bucket. Mishima Oke has five rows of inlaid designs - three are floral, is a sloping lines and the top is wavy lines. It is still very modern looking, although it dates from the 15th to 16 Century. Mishima Oke exudes a feeling of warmth, controlled indifference and timeless beauty, as well as its equally famous - if quieter - cousin, the Meibutsu Ni-toku chawan Mishima, who was also in Rikyu's collection.

All other chawan this era are much simpler in design - until the end of the Edo period, that is, when Japanese pottery painting began the actual calendar designs on the chawan. Shards of these were found throughout Japan, including some in Tokyo in Shinjuku Ward and Himeji Castle.

Other types of Mishima be seen Hori-Mishima (carved), co-Mishima (old), Mishima Koyomi-en (Calendar rope curtain "), Mishima-Hakeme (white-slip brush), Hagi-Mishima and Karatsu - Mishima.

In addition, other documents in connection with Mishima design, including monitors, prints and paint products - and the oh-so-important old calendars.

Sano Museum (0559) 75-7278 has a beautiful garden, visitors can stroll. It is located in 1-43 Nakata-cho, Mishima, open 10 clock to 5 clock, throughout the duration of the exhibition. Admission is 800 yen for adults and college students, 400 yen for others. The museum is a 15-minute walk from JR Mishima or you can take a bus from Tokai bus stop No. 4

The Japan Times: Oct. 10, 2001
(C) All rights reserved

No comments: