Important Cultural PropertyYellow glazed bottle with plum tree picture in the rusty-painting style

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  • By Miyagawa Kouzan I
  • 1 piece
  • H52.1 aperture D14.5 body D25.8
  • Meiji 25 (1892)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • G-139

Miyagawa Kozan (1842 - 1916) was born in Kyoto as the fourth boy of Makuzu Chozo (9th Chawanya Chobei). In 1860, he succeeded his father in the family business of producing ceramics for green tea and in the late Edo period, taught pottery at the Mushiake kilns in Bizen (current Okayama). In 1871, he opened the Makuzu kiln in Yokohama to produce ceramics for export, where he produced ceramics using a variety of techniques, such as Kyoyaki-style ceramics with on-glaze decoration (iro-e), Satsuma Nishikide, celadon, white porcelain, yellow glaze, detailed drawing and relief. He won a prize at the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 and a gold award twice at the Paris World Exposition in 1878 and 1889. He was one of the most esteemed potters in the world at the time.
In the special report on the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1983, Kozan was mentioned as one of the best potters in the section of 100 selected china and porcelain works, for his vase with a dragon and wave pattern and gained a high reputation. Shioda Makoto (a craftwork scholar), in his lecture, also mentioned Kozan as one of the top three potters together with Takemoto Hayata and Inoue Ryosai.
This vase takes the form of Chinese pottery called Gyokkoshun. It slowly swells toward the middle of the body and deflates toward the neck to the trumpet-like mouth. An plum tree is drawn on the surface, which suggests the influence of funsai (an on-glaze decoration technique) of Chinese pottery. It has a yellow ground created by a high fire glaze, on which a sabie (rusty painting) of plum trees with outlined white flowers is applied in a sumi-e manner. Although his other works owned by other museums are currently not available for public view, it can be inferred, from their title names and articles written when each work was created, that his works in general strongly reflect the characteristics of Chinese pottery.
In 1896, Kozan was appointed as an imperial art officer together with Namikawa Sosuke, Namikawa Yasuyuki and Kishi Chikudo.