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Kenzan Ware

( Originally Published 1911 )



Ninsei and Kinkozan have been mentioned as celebrated potters, Kenzan and Yeiraku must be added to them. Kenzan at first imitated the Ninsei ware of Kyoto, but, being himself an artist and a brother of the celebrated painter Ogato Korin, he soon developed an original and genuine Japanese style in which striking results were produced with a seeming absence of laboured detail. The simplicity of a branch of prunus blossoms, a few nodding reeds or grasses, a little group of birds amidst the foliage, the distant hill seen through the midst, suited the space available for decoration. He used black, brown, green, blue, and purple in plain colours, and enamels as well as gold. His early work was done on Awata pottery, but his style is unmistakable, and he marked all his pieces with his name " Kenzan." Other specimens of his bold outline sketches are found on a coarse ware with a gritty paste. At a later period he went to Iriya, in Tokio, but owing to unsatisfactory materials for the making of pottery nothing very great was accomplished. His productions are exceedingly rare and proportionately valuable. His family still have a kiln near Kyoto, and his son and grandson imitated his style, including the mark, with some success.



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