Hamada Shoji (1894-1978)

Chawan with nuka and iron oxides
1945-48
9 x 12 x 12 cm
Box signed and sealed by Hamada
This magnificent chawan stands proudly, with lovely coloration and Matisse-like brushstrokes all around. The interior shows the crawling texture prized by tea masters. It is said that the foot of a bowl reveals much of the maker’s sensibility and skill. Hamada stated that he was 50 years old before he was able to give such bowls a ‘natural foot’, one well-trimmed, of pleasing form, and capable of supporting the weight of the bowl through the firing process. This bowl dates to just this period, one in which Hamada felt he produced some of his best work, as many of the 77 tea bowls in his personal collection were made in this spectacular period of creativity (see: 浜田庄司七十七盌譜 [Hamada Shoji 77 Teabowls], 1972).

This particular form is a Hamada original and expresses his sensitivity to the utility and significance of his own work. “The ridge in the center and the narrowed waist are of great help to old people, who no longer have much moisture in their hands. These features allow them to hold the bowl without its slipping through their fingers. …The form is not found in so-called teabowls. I compromised by taking the conventional teabowl form and modifying it to make my own version. I am happy with the result. I don’t mean to denigrate ordinary teabowls—they are very fine. I do not want to make the mistake of walking the path of making teabowls by being negative about the conventional ones. I’d rather go firmly ahead and walk my own path” (Leach, B. 1990, p. 224-5, Hamada, Potter. Kondansha).
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