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Kitaoji Rosanjin Grape Plate

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Stoneware: Pre 1960: Item # 1423337

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Modern Japanese Ceramics
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23 Murasakino Monzen-cho, Kita-ward Kyoto 603-8216
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A bunch of grapes in slight color under shadowy cool leaves decorate the milky white and sand toned surface of this very unusual plate by Kitaoji Rosanjin enclosed in a wooden box annotated by Living National Treasure Arakawa Toyozo dated 1968. It is 19 cm (7-1/2 inches) diameter and in excellent condition.
Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883-1959) 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.
Arakawa Toyozo (1894-1985) was born in Tajimi,the ancient home of Shino and Oribe wares. In 1922 he met Kitaoji Rosanjin I Kyoto, and became his apprentice, working at the Hoshigaoka kiln in Kamakura until 1933. He moved back to Gifu and devoted his life to re-creating Shino and yellow-and-black Seto wares of the Momoyama period. He, along with Kato Tokuro, is responsible for the revival of Mino ware. He was designated Living National Treasure in 1955, and received the Order of Cultural Merit in 1971.