Outstanding sake set made by Kumano Kurōemon. Kumano, born 1955 in Fukui, is one of the current most representative studio potters in Japan. Living seclusively in rural Japan, he is nicknamed the Bear of Echizen, which is a reference to his name (kuma, bear) and playfully refers to both his visual appearance and his vibrant, strong ceramic style.
Echizen (today’s Fukui Prefecture) - one of the so called six old kilns (rokkoyō 六古窯) - is an ancient pottery center known for its high-fired stoneware. Kumano follows this tradition, however pushed forward into a new direction using its own, unique glaze what he calls Kumano-Shino and Matsuzaka-Shino (named after a type of feldspar). Intensely fired in his anagama kiln at nearly 1500 degrees Celsius, Kumano’s works are bold, surprisingly large and mostly bearing extreme surfaces with fantastic encrustations of glaze like the here presented work.
Sake bottle and cup of this set bearing crusty traces of the firing supports on the front. They are thickly covered with a white, celadon-colored feldspar glaze with traces of green ash glaze running downwards. A beautiful single glaze drop, crystal clear like glass, highlights the rim of the Sake flask.
Kumano named this set 'chōgetsu' 釣月 and inscribed it on the box with his own expressive handwriting. Chōgetsu is a term that refers to a Japanese saying 'Fishing the moon, cultivating the clouds' (Tsuki wo tsuri, kumo wo tagayasu 月を釣り、雲を耕す), which is said to be originally used by Zen master Dōgen (1200-1253). The words speak of the quintessential importance in human life to pause for a moment and enjoy the splendors of nature even within the hard work of existential livelihood.