Yaguchi Eiju, a pair of white and blue sake cups with fishes and aquatic plants

Yaguchi Eiju  矢口永寿

a pair of white and blue sake cups with fishes and aquatic plants

size ; akae cup  diameter about 6.5cm height about 2.6cm

size ; white and blue cup  diameter about 6.2cm height about 2.7cm

both condition ; excellent

Some writing is written on the front of the special wooden box (tomo-bako 共箱). Generally, such writing means especially the creator’s description regarding to the style and quality of his work. The meaning of this writing is that the wooden box contains a pair of cups full of “elegance” or “sophistication”.

The creator of a cup in akae and a cup in white and blue is the first Yaguchi Eiju (he was called Seisei-ken), but their style tells his slightly different history (described later) than other kutani creator. Since Eiju was closely related to the urban culture of Kyoto, he brought up delicate sensibility. Because of strong influence of two men, wholly, his works have an elegant and sophisticated beauty.

Two men are Takiguchi Kazen and Tozaki Kanzaburo. In the Eiju kiln, at some time, potters such as Takiguchi Kazen who was one of best disciples of Eiraku Wazen, or Tozaki Kanzaburo who also studied in Kyoto and played an active part. This writing means that this box is full of an elegant and sophisticated beauty.

About one cup, on the pure white inside, small fish and aquatic plants are drawn in brightly red and green, and on the outside, some small fishes and aquatic plants are alternately drawn. It is completed in smalt and akae painting style like Chinese porcelain (but here using green instead of smalt). It is thought that it was strongly influenced by Takiguchi Kazen, one of the best disciples of Eiraku Wazen, who was a specialty of smalt akae, so, the elegant, sophisticated design of Kyoto is expressed on this cup.

Clear, small fishes swimming between the aquatic plants are looked on the inside. Looking at the flow of the river, Eiju seemed to try expression of the inside of water, and in this painting a sense of elegance is felt to be different from kutani in the Meiji and Taisho period.

About another cup, some small fishes and swinging water plants are drawn inside in white and blue, and it is felt that the drawing is delicate and the movement is sensitive.

It is said that the Eiju kiln had an excellent potter called Tozaki Kanzaburo who trained in Kyoto and after produced excellent white and blue works at the kiln. He himself sold his works in Japan. It is thought that this work was influenced by him.

Inside the round foot of the cup, “manufactured in Jingdezhen during the Ming Dynasty of China” is written in white and blue. It is an inscription that is often seen on Chinese ceramics, which were long admired by cultural people in old Japan. Unlike inside pattern, the inscription was written in white and blue copying the Chinese ceramics. But the inscription is too thick typeface, not elegant.

After that, the style of the first Eiju was followed by the second and third Eiju (both are called Maikei), and they inherited the style and made excellent works for tea ceremony. They came to be called master craftsmen of works for tea ceremony.

About creator of this work Yaguchi Eiju  矢口永寿

The first Yaguchi Eiju   born in 1870, died in 1952

The first Yaguchi Eiju (he was called Seisei-ken) was an innate dexterous person who was familiar with ceramics, calligraphy and antiques. When he was young, he went to Osaka, traveled around the country, and after returned home. He started to create raku-yaki called Kurotani-yaki. In 1904, Eiju invited Takiguchi Kazen, one of the best disciples of Eiraku Wazen, and opened the Eiju kiln and began making Kyoto-style ceramics.

However, it was said that Eiju himself did not touch the potter’s clay and did not take a paintbrush, so he gathered many artists (potters and painters) from Kyoto, Nomi, and Kanazawa, and produced the works, showing his taste and improving the quality. Finally, he came to be called a master craftsman of kutani.

reference № 19032503
date of exhibition February 22, 2020
selling & buying under consideration