Ōtagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875)

Set of Five Tea Cups with Inscribed Poems

Inv. Nr. #19.036
Date Early Meiji period, 19th Century
Material Glazed stoneware with iron oxide inscription
Dimensions H 8,9 x Diam. 8,0 cm (each, circa)

Comes with old, fitted wooden box.

Price: EUR 2,800

A set of five hand-modelled tea cups (yūnomi) with poetic inscription. Each cup is arranged in Rengetsu's signature style, such is a funnel shaped lotus leaf which rests on the rolled leaf stem. The lotus leaf and the round shape of the cups are indeed references to Rengetsu's Buddhist name, which literally translates to 'Lotus Moon'. The sand-colored clay is inscribed with iron oxide brown and is glazed in light grey showing partly soft pink nuances and some gohonde spots.

 

The five inscriptions read:

 

Deep in the mountains flowers like white snow stream down... The last of spring borne away on the face of the village river.

 

Morning dew upon a hedge of blooming deutzias... Oh, for a song from a mountain cuckoo!

 

Before sunset at my mountain hut a little cuckoo chirps— Ah, to have his company tomorrow on my way to the capital.

 

Counting back... Just three years since planting this willow. Now tall enough to beat my window!

 

Dried persimmons thinning under the eaves of my mountain hut— A night storm brings a deep chill.

 

Each cup is signed 'Rengestu'. Comes with fitted inscribed wooden box. The cups come in perfect condition showing no signs of use.

 

A similar cup of another set has been published in: Stephen Addiss: 77 Dances: Japanese Calligraphy by Poets, Monks, and Scholars, 1568-1868, Boston/London: Weatherhill (2006), p. 49.