Yamato Yasuo 大和保男 (*1933)

Hagi Incense Case in Shape of an Eggplant

Inv. Nr. #A47
Date 20th C.
Material Ash glazed stoneware
Dimensions H 4,5  x L 8,0 x W 4,8 cm

Comes with signed and sealed wooden box.

Price: EUR 500

Yamato is one of the most famous names in Japanese Hagi pottery, and Yasuo is recognized as one of the best working in this style. Born as the second son of Yamato Harunobu Shoroku, Yasuo has been creating new techniques such as "Oni-hagi Enpaku" from traditional Hagi ware for generations. Even now, as he approaches old age, he still works in the same place where he played with clay from his earliest childhood. Yasuo has received many awards throughout his career, most notably at the prestigious Nitten Exhibition. Since 1979, he has received the Yamaguchi Branch Director's Award of the Japan Traditional Crafts Exhibition and many other awards. He is a regular member of the Japan Kogei Association. It is worth mentioning that one of his large vessels is kept in the important Ise Shrine and one of his tea bowls was presented to the Imperial Highness Princess.


The work presented here is a kōgō, a lidded container originally designed to hold pieces of fragrant wood for the Japanese tea ceremony. The container can be used for many other purposes as well. Yasuo used the typical Hagi-style red, rough clay covered with a thick, milky glaze with a soft green tint. The kōgō is shaped in the simple but striking and creative form of an eggplant.


In Japanese culture, eggplants are a popular summer dish and is considered a symbol of good luck, as the ripe fruit represents prosperity. The Japanese name for eggplant, nasu, also has a double meaning: When written with Chinese characters (茄子 or 茄), the word refers to the vegetable itself. However, written in a different way (なす or 成す), the word can be understood as a verb meaning "to achieve" or "to accomplish," revealing its auspicious meaning.