Sold with thanks
A set of four unusual small dishes enclosed in the original signed wooden box by Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883-1959), one of Japans most famous 20th century artists. Iron reds underlie the pale earthen glaze, with a dollop of Oribe green on one side. Almost as if planned, the pieces have firing cracks filled with black lacquer, adding a fourth consideration to the standard essentials: form, design and glazing. Each dish is roughly 5-1/2 inches (14 cm) diameter. As mentioned there are firing flaws and one piece has a small gold repair on the edge. Judging by the work it is very possible this was a set of dishes originally for use in one of his restaurants. For more (and similar works accentuating firing flaws like this) see the current exhibition at the Kyoto Museum of Modern Art.
They say adversity is the mother of invention, and Rosanjin can be said to epitomize that expression. Born during the tumultuous first half of the Meiji period in the cultural center of Kyoto, he was adopted at age six by a woodblock carver. He showed an early genius for calligraphy, and began his early manhood as a carver of seals and carver/painter of shop signs after a brief apprenticeship to a pharmacy. He also taught calligraphy and bought and sold antiques during these early years. In 1921 he founded what would become the impetus for his life’s work, his first restaurant, the Bishoku club, and followed in 1925 with a restaurant in Tokyo called the Hoshigaoka. Rosanjin began working in ceramics to replace the collection of dishes that was destroyed in the 1923 Kanto Earthquake. He was largely a self taught artist with a diverse range, beginning with a kiln on his rented property .in Kamakura, and later paying visits for brief apprenticeships to many of the days top artists. He retired to work exclusively on the arts in 1936. Magazine editor, lacquer artist, metal-working and finally store owner in Tokyo’s Ginza, Rosanjin was everywhere at once. He was displayed at the museum of Modern Art in New York in 1954, a rare honor indeed for living artist. Like his contemporary, Kawai Kanjiro, Rosanjin was offered the title of Living National Treasure in 1955 for his work in Oribe pottery, but refused the offer.