Yamamoto Tōshū (1906-1994)

(Living National Treasure)

Bizen Tea Caddy

Inv. Nr. #21.014
Date Shōwa period, mid 20th C.
Material Ash glazed stoneware
Dimensions H 8,5  x Diam. 7,1 cm

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

Price: EUR 15,000

Top-class Bizen chaire  made by Yamamoto Tōshū. Tōshū began 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, what eventually let Tōshū become one of the best Bizen potters of all time.

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.


The tea caddy is signed underneath with the potter's mark. Comes with fitted wooden box with original inscription: Bizen katashiki chaire ("Tea Caddy with Distinct Shoulders"), and signature: Tōshū-zō ("Made by Tōshū").