ORIBE: Rosanjin & KATO

Dai Ichi Arts
Oct 27, 2016 2:11PM

Most recognizable for its green copper glaze and bold painted designs, Oribe is a quintessentially Japanese creation. Oribe ware originated in the 16th century and takes its name from the tea master Furuta Oribe 古田織部 (1544-1615).

Furuta Oribe was a samurai and tea master who lived at the height of the cultural renaissance of the Momoyama Period (1573-1603) in Japan. He favored a specific style of ceramics for his tea ceremonies, and this style eventually became known by his name, Oribe. After Furuta Oribe performed seppuku (ritual suicide), a dark cloud was cast over the work that bore his name, one that only passed when Oribe was reinvented in the 20th century by the artist Kitaoji Rosanjin 北大路魯山人(1883-1959).

The beauty of Momoyama Oribe would reemerge during the Showa Period, as Kitaoji Rosanjin 北大路魯山人(1883-1959) introduced a new wave of traditional Oribe-style wares. Okabe Mineo 岡部嶺男(1919-1990) would also experiment in this style, giving birth to many freshly made forms. These artists worked within the original spirit of Oribe ceramics, adapting their unconventional creativity to what can be called "Contemporary Oribe."

Due to his unorthodox training, Rosanjin's early works are remarkably free and fresh. He experimented with many types of clay and many more types of glazed surfaces. This stylistic variation makes his career almost difficult to follow, but the stunning results are always worth further investigation. This striking Oribe jar is covered with an exuberant dark green along with a lighter fresh green glaze that perfectly compliments an arrangement of flowers. Rosanjin believed that the best works don't reveal themselves until they are used, and close interaction with these three pieces certainly engaged both the senses and the imagination.

This beautiful Oribe glazed flower vase demonstrates the great talent of ceramicist Kato Yasukage XIV 十四代加藤康影 (1964- 2012). Born in Aichi to two professional potters, Kato began his studies as a young man under Bizen Living National Treasure Yamamoto Toshu山本陶秀 (1906- 1994), with whom he developed his own mentori (facet) style. Together, his family's history and his apprenticeship provided a solid foundation on which he built a strong artistic practice, in one sense quite literally: Kato often used clay that had been prepared by his ancestors. This was special clay kept for generations in his family, a tradition that Kato embraced by preparing clay for his own descendants.

Kato works in an iron-rich mountain clay that reacts to the heat of the kiln to produce this luscious green color in the glaze. The artist prefers a wood kiln, which is very difficult to control but produces beautiful results, as can be seen here. Although Kato's life was tragically cut short by a car accident in 2012, his work continues to delight and inspire.

KITAOJI Rosanjin 北大路魯山人 (1883-1959)
Oribe Jar 於里扁(織部)壷
H6.3" x Dia6", H16.2 x Dia15.6cm
With original artist signed box, lacquer presentation box

KATO Yasukage XIV 十四代加藤康影(1964-2012)
Oribe Vase 織部花器
H14.8" x W19.5" x D10", H37.8 x W49.6 x D25.2cm
Glazed stoneware
Signed at the bottom

Oribe Vase 織部花器
Dai Ichi Arts
Oribe Jar 於里扁壷
Dai Ichi Arts
Dai Ichi Arts