Yamamoto Tōshū (1906-1994)

(Living National Treasure)

Bizen Tea Caddy

Inv. Nr. #19.001
Date Shōwa period, mid 20th C.
Material Ash glazed stoneware
Dimensions H 9,1  x Diam. 7,4 cm

Comes with fitted signed and sealed wooden box and silk pouch.

Price: EUR 25,000

This top-quality Bizen chaire is truly a once-in-a-life-time item. Thrown with crisp contour on a potter's wheel, the tea caddy has got a unique ash glazing afterwards. Between a rough brown texture, two parts of the vessel's exterior give the sight free on the bare clay. Here, these two reserves are outlined by a dark line of ash glaze, which is in turn framed by an orange belt that is reflecting the light with an exceptional metallic shine. This effect can also be seen in the inside of the vessel. Also coated with a thin shiny ash glaze, it is answering any incoming ray of light with a mysterious glow.

Tōshū has begun to work with clay at the age of 15 and became independent only 12 years later in 1933. Interesting is, that he later decided to experience some more training, however, not under a Bizen master but under Kusube Yaichi (1897-1984), who has possibly stimulated his progressive eye on traditional Bizen ceramics. Kusube also helped him to to master the potter's wheel, which is why Tōshū is said, that he has made the finest wheel thrown objects in Bizen.

In 1959, Tōshū made his world debut at the Brussels World Exposition, where he was awarded the gold prize. Just in the same year, he was named an Important Cultural Property of Okayama. He has been selected as a member of the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition every year since 1955. In addition, he won multiple prizes such as the Okayama Prefecture Cultural Prize in 1972, Sanyo Shimbun Cultural Award and the Miki Memorial Award in 1975, Bizen City Achievement Award and the Purple Ribbon Medal in 1976, Mainichi Art Award in 1977, the Dark‐blue Ribbon Medal in 1981, the Order of the Sacred Treasure (4th class) in 1982.
This long history of honors and his mastering of the Bizen style with many distinct, sometimes unusual works, leading to his appointment as a Living National Treasure (Important Intangible Cultural Property) in 1987, third in line after Kaneshige Tōyō and Fujiwara Kei.


Signed underneath with his potter mark. Comes with fitted wooden box that is inscribed: Bizen katashiki chaire 備前肩衝茶入 ('Tea Caddy with Distinct Shoulders'), and signed: Tōshū-zō 陶秀造 ('Made by Tōshū').