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Ohi Pottery — love at first sight.

It all started with an exhibition dedicated to the masters of Ohi Todzaemon 10 and 11 generations in the gallery on the Ginza, where I came quite by accident. Perhaps these names few people say something, but the main theme of the exhibition was tradition and modernity, the way traditional forms in his father’s ceramics are a completely new interpretation in the works of his son, and the exhibition, this has caused me a flurry of emotions.

Керамика Охи – любовь с первого взгляда.

A few months later I went to class at tea, and a woman originally from Kanazawa, with whom we are engaged in, brought in this day cup, made by one of the masters of Todzaemon. This cup carefully passed down from generation to generation in her family.

With each trip to Kanazawa I became increasingly eyeing the Ohi pottery, until he finally got in Ohi Museum.

To describe bowl Ohi in one word, I would say that is the embodiment of «sibumi». This tart bitterness of life, simplicity, renunciation of mastery and external «beauty», the rawness of the forms, a kind of apogee of imperfection. By the way, in the name of one of the first works of the founder of the dynasty Ohi Todzaemon stored in Ohi Museum, there is the word «Shibuya», its poetic name — «astringent persimmon» or «sibugaki», because she is a bowl of rich color of persimmon.

Bowl "sibugaki" the founder of the dynasty Ohi Todzaemona
Bowl «sibugaki» the founder of the dynasty Ohi Todzaemona

It is because of the external simplicity and artlessness of this pottery, many people are accustomed to the lush beauty in the European sense of the word, when they first see the bowl, there is a reasonable question: «What is the value of this pottery? Why is one such cup is worth the crazy money? «

The first thing that catches the eye is the surface roughness and the deliberate irregular shape. Just look at the cup of «holy», created by the founder of the dynasty of Ohi, which if accidentally curved before being placed in the kiln. The fact is that each bowl Ohi is done by hand, without the use of a potter’s wheel, as well as the legendary Raku ceramics — one of ten dynasties, continues to make utensils for the tea ceremony since Sen no Rikyu. And this similarity is not accidental.

Bowl "Holy", the work of the founder of the dynasty Ohi
Bowl «Holy», the work of the founder of the dynasty Ohi

Let’s recall the story.

Back in 1666, Prince Maeda invited Kanazawa fourth patriarch tea school Uransenke Senso Sositsu, and with it came and Todzaemon — pupil of the famous masters for the production of cups Itin, former head of the famous fourth Raku dynasty.

Todzaemon began to search a suitable clay at the foot Utatsu and soon began to make tea utensils in the village called Ohi on the outskirts of Kanazawa. So there Ohi dynasty. The founder Todzaemon dynasty was in its own way an innovator, he experimented not only with the form. In his ceramics appear intricate patterns resembling a whirlpool and a cover of the vessel he has created for the water suddenly adorns shrimp, a symbol of longevity.

It was more than 350 years, and now Ohi pottery is known in the whole of Japan. More and more attention at home and abroad are attracted master Ohi Todzaemon 11 generation. The traditional form in some of his works are preserved, but bright and flashy colors give free and vigorous spirit of the master, and I confess that I feel closer to his father’s pottery. Now in my hands — the book Wizard Ohi Todzaemon 10 generation, where he is going back to basics, lovingly describes the features of ceramic masters of nine generations of their predecessors. I would like to conclude with the words of the great master, which very accurately describe what we see in the world of contemporary ceramics: It is important to «remember the tradition, to create a new» (温 故知 新). And another beautiful expression — «fresh sake, the old barrel» (古 壺 新 酒), which means that it’s time to fill the old form with new content.
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