Outstanding Bizen fresh water jar (mizusashi) with arrow-notch type mouth (yahazu-guchi) by Kaneshige Makoto. Conically shaped body, resting on a smaller, flat base, the rim of the mouth is of larger proportion than usual. At the front is a botamochi reserve pattern in bright orange. The whole body is covered with greenish brown ash glaze of fine texture. The upper rim is slightly distorted and glazed with a dramatic ashglaze that has crystallized in grey and black running glaze drops. Loosely fitting lid with bend knob. Signed underneath with potter’s mark. Comes with signed and sealed wooden box, inscribed by Makoto: Bizen yahazu-guchi mizusashi, Enzan-gama, Makoto. Stamped: Makoto. This piece was part of an exhibition at the Mitsukoshi department store. Originally exhibition slip included.
Kaneshige Makoto was born 1945 in Inbe, Okayama, as first son into one of the traditional Bizen pottery families. With Kaneshige Sozan as father and Kaneshige Tōyō as uncle, he was raised with two of the most important Japanese potters of the 20th century. Possibly due to that circumstance, he first did not decide to become a potter by himself and started to study agricultural sciences at University of Kyōto in 1964. It was not before 1968, when he saw some ceramic pieces made by his father in an exhibition in Tōkyō which fascinated him so much that he decided to become his apprentice. After ten years of working at his father’s workshop he showed his own work to the public for the first time in 1979 in a gallery in Okayama. In 1982, his father built a new kiln in Inbe and Makoto became an independent potter by taking over the old workshop named Enzan-gama.
Despite the fact that Makoto tried to distance himself from the institutionalized Japanese ceramic world, he is acknowledged as one of the most outstanding contemporary Bizen potters and possibly one of the purest ones: Firing twice a year in his three-chambered nobori-gama, he prepares his clay all by himself without the help of machines – just using the strength of his own hands and feet. His works have therefor an especially fine texture and a sculptural quality and are also praised by young people for his modern features.
Elmar Weinmayr: Kaneshige Makoto, in: Kaneshige Sozan, Kaneshige Makoto, Kaneshige Yuhō. Keramik, Verlag Fred Jahn, München 1992, p. 45-54.
Gendai chatō taikan [Overview over the Contemporary Tea Ceramic], Vol. 3, 1979, p. 36-37, 156.
Die Neue Sammlung - Staatliches Museum für Angewandte Kunst, München
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven