Yamato is one of the most famous names in Japanese Hagi pottery and Yasuo is acknowledged to be one of the best working in this style. Yasuo was awarded many prizes throughout his career. Even now, approaching a high age, he is still working at the same location, where he used to play with clay from his earliest childhood years. The here presented work is a kōgō, a lidded container originally created for holding pieces of fragrant wood for the Japanese tea ceremony. The container can serve many other purposes as well.
Yasuo used the typical Hagi-style red-colored, rough clay, which is covered with a thick, milky and partly greenish glaze. The kōgō is shaped in a simple yet striking and creative form of an eggplant. In Japanese culture the eggplant is a popular summer dish regarded as a lucky symbol since the ripe fruits exemplify prosperity. Also, the Japanese name for eggplant, nasu, bears a double meaning: 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'.