Shimaoka Tatsuzo (1919-2007)

Ridged stoneware tsubo with iron oxides
21.5 x 14 x 14 cm
Original box signed and sealed; impressed seal on bottom

An early vase by Living National Treasure Shimaoka Tatsuzo. The script and seal used on this box are quite distinct from those on Shimaoka’s later works and date this vase to his early years, perhaps to the later 1950s, or soon after he had established his workshop and kiln next to Hamada’s in Mashiko. Hamada too in these years made similar banded tsubo (e.g. Plate 117 in Shoji Hamada, Soetsu Yanagi, editor, 1966, Tokyo: Asahi Shimbun).

In making such tsubo, both artists were using a simple wheel-based decorative technique seen on ancient Chinese and Korean turned vessels. Shimaoka embellished the natural form with a simple pattern of slanted brush strokes in a deep iron oxide that enlivens and enriches the pale stoneware base. A rare and understated vase for Shimaoka, its proud spontaneity lends it an unusually warm and yet modern feel.
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