New Work: Iga Chaire "Green Mountain" by Imai Kôjin (*1937)

It's our pleasure to inform you about our latest acquisition: This extraordinary tea caddy (chaire) was made by Imai Kôjin who was born 1937 and has studied pottery between 1957-61 under Kawai Zuihô (1913-64) in Kyoto. His works were shown on many important exhibitions in Japan such as the Art Exhibition Kyoto, Shiga Prefectural Exhibition, Nitten (Japanese National Exhibition) as well as exhibitons abroad under patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


In 1973 Kôjin moved to Iga and devoted himself to explore and study Old-Iga ware, which was famous in medieval Japan with its carefree irregular style for the production of tea ceremony utensils. Much of his efforts and knowledge culminated into this excellent piece. On the dark clay, which turned brown through oxidation during firing, large areas are covered by a bluish green ash glazing on which single glaze drops are running downwards.

The current 12th head of the Matsuo-ryû tea ceremony branch, Myôgensai Sôten (or Matsuo Sôten, *1962), who is a Zen-priest at Daitoku-ji, Kyoto, has named this Chaire "Green Mountain" (Aoyama/Seizan青山) and inscribed it in the inside of its wooden box. In tea ceremony circles only the most valued items get their own name.


Despite the fact that this Chaire really reminds one on a moutain, covered by lush greens, from which streams of blue rivers or waterfalls running downwards, the words "Green Mountain" are bearing a strong Zen Buddhist connotation. An aphorism recorded in the Jingde chuandeng lu from around 1004 and that was probably made by Zen master Mazu Daoyi (709-788), wants to give an idea of our own inherent Buddha nature. It employs following words: Our true self is like a "green mountain, that is orignally unmoved. White clouds are coming and going by themselves".