April 2012 Archives
Sen no Rikyu using his outstanding aesthetic sense, decided the form of tea utensils and also brought into chanoyu objects which were not originally made for it. This was called 'mitate'. The word 'mitate' means 'to see an object, not in the form that was originally intended for it, but as another thing', and was originally a literary term used in describing the technique of writing kanshi (Chinese poems) and Japanese waka. Rikyu really brought this spirit of 'mitate', which came from literary theory, to life by using everyday household articles as utensils for chanoyu. For example, there are anecdotes of a gourd that was originally a water flask being used as a flower container and of the entrance to a ship being used as the nijiriguchi (crawl-through entrance) for a tea room.
Not only Rikyu, but tea practitioners of that time, went against the general trend of using Chinese utensils as tea bowls, bringing in tea bowls used in everyday life from the Korean peninsular for use as wabi-cha tea bowls. Things that came into Japan from the trade with southern countries were also used as tea utensils which could perhaps be called 'mitate'. Bringing something into chanoyu in this way, to experimentally add a fresh and tasteful element is the spirit of 'mitate'. In modern times Buddhist art was quickly taken into the tea room and also ceramics and glassware from all over the world, as well as metal goods, became tea utensils through the process of 'mitate'.
In our enjoyment of the experience of chanoyu and the innovations that we make, this spirit of 'mitate' could be said to be the root of chanoyu. For example, while on a trip one might be looking at the traditional local craft works and wondering if something could be used as a lid rest or an incense container. Thinking about this while taking a walk is one of the pleasures of travelling and is also the pleasure of a life in chanoyu. The spirit of 'mitate' which is part of an exceptional aesthetic awareness, can also give life to traditional crafts and industries.
(Omotesenke Fushin'an - http://www.omotesenke.jp/english/chanoyu/6_3_1.html)
Talk Session: Sugimoto Hiroshi x Sen So-oku
"Sen Rikyu and Marcel Duchamp: Alchemy of Ideas"
If Marcel Duchamp was the man who placed mass-produced objects on pedestals and thereby upended the notion that artworks must possess sophistication and uniqueness, then 16th century tea master Sen Rikyu was the man who introduced similarly innovative values to the world of the tea ceremony. He did this by producing simple raku tea bowls instead of imported precious ones and also by bringing bamboo vases into teahouses that had once been centered on bronze and Song Dynasty celadon porcelain vases. In this discussion, self-proclaimed "Duchampian," Sugimoto Hiroshi, and the future grand tea master of the Mushakoji-Senke, Sen So-oku, make fascinating discoveries as they investigate how the idea of the "readymade" informed the thought of both Sen Rikyu and Duchamp.
(MORI ART MUSEUM: http://www.mori.art.museum/english/contents/french_window/public/index.html)
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|Lit. five-ring pagoda. Also gorin 五輪, gorin sekitou 五輪石塔, houkaitou 法界塔, gorin touba 五輪塔婆, gogedatsurin
五解脱輪. A five-storied pagoda (Sk; stupa) in which each storey
corresponds to one of five elements. The bottom storey is square and
corresponds to the earth ring *chirin 地輪. Next is the spherical water ring *suirin 水輪, surmounted by the triangular ring of fire karin 火輪. Above this is a reclining half-moon shape fuurin 風輪, representing the wind, and topmost is the gem-shaped ring of space kuurin 空輪. It is believed that the gorintou
was first adopted in the mid-Heian period by the esoteric Buddhist
sects, Shingon 真言 and Tendai 天台. In Shingon Buddhism it symbolized *Dainichi
大日, the supreme Buddha, 'essence of the infinite levels of the
unconscious mind'. Buddha was also thought to be a manifestation of the
universal five elements. Each storey of the pagoda is usually inscribed
with the Sanskrit character for the element represented. After the Heian
period the gorintou was often used as a funerary monument. Most gorintou
are two to three meters high; the tallest example, at Iwashimizu
Hachimanguu 岩清水八幡宮, is six meters high. Large examples are made of stone
gorin sekitou, while smaller ones are sometimes made from wood ita gorintouba 板五輪塔婆, clay nendo gorintouba
粘土五輪塔婆 or metal. These smaller stupas are used as votive offerings, and
are often hand crafted by those who present them to the temple. The
oldest known Chuusonji 中尊寺 Gorintou (1169), can be seen at Chuusonji Shakuson-in 釈尊院 in Iwate preference. Sometimes parts of a gorintou
are used for decoration in a garden, and the spherical water ring and
the trapezoidal fire ring sometimes serve as a handwash basin *chouzubachi 手水鉢. An example of this type can be seen at Katsura Rikyuu 桂離宮 in Kyoto. Sometimes a small-scale gorintou made from a single block of stone, issekikokusei gorintou 一石刻成五輪塔, is also used in private gardens.
(gorintou - JAANUS)
The Moji-mandala Gohonzon, or the "Mandala Gohonzon" (曼荼羅御本尊), is the primary object of devotion in Nichiren Shū and some other Nichiren schools, and the exclusive object of veneration in the Nichiren Shōshū branch and formerly affiliated groups such as Sōka Gakkai.
Nichiren-school Gohonzons feature Chinese characters and two medieval-Sanskrit script intended to express Nichiren's inner enlightenment. Most prominent and common to all such Gohonzons is the phrase Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō written down the center. This is called the daimoku (題目) or shudai (主題, "title"), around which the names of various Buddhas, bodhisattvas, persons of the Two Vehicles, personages representing the Ten Worlds, and Buddhist and indigenous-Japanese deities are arranged hierarchically. The names of deities believed to protect the Buddha land, called the Four Heavenly Kings (Bishamonten, Jikokuten, Kōmokuten, and Zōjōten), further occupy the four corners, and Sanskrit characters depicting Aizen Myō-ō and Fudō Myō-ō are situated along the left and right outer edges. Each of these names represents some aspect of the Buddha's enlightenment or an important Buddhist concept.
Nichiren-school Gohonzons are initially inscribed in ink on paper and are usually kept in the form of a hanging paper scroll. In some schools, the inscription of Gohonzons intended for long-term enshrinement, such as those in temples, is often transferred to a wooden tablet into which the inscription is carved. The tablets are coated with black urushi and the engraved characters, gilded. Gohonzons are almost always dated and have a dedication, sometimes naming the person for whom or purpose for which they were inscribed or even the person who asked for their inscription.
The first Gohonzons of this sort were inscribed by Nichiren during his exile on Sado Island between late 1271 and early 1274. Which Buddhas', bodhisattvas', and other figures' names appear on a Gohonzon depends on when and for whom Nichiren inscribed it. Gohonzons personally inscribed by Nichiren feature his name, first to the left of the daimoku, but gradually moving to directly underneath the daimoku in his final years.
Gohonzons inscribed by Nichiren's successors differ somewhat depending on the school because of differences in interpretation of the significance of the Gohonzon. For instance, in the Nichiren Shū school, the priest who inscribes a Gohonzon puts his own name underneath the daimoku or the phrase "Nichiren, Zai-Gohan" is written directly below the Gohonzon with "respectfully transcribed by" to the left of the characters for Nichiren, whereas in the Nichiren Shōshū school, "Nichiren" appears directly underneath the daimoku. In this case, the transcribing high priest signs his name, preceded by the words "respectfully transcribed by," to the left of the characters for Nichiren. This is because in Nichiren Shōshū, only the high priest has the authority to inscribe Gohonzons, which are transcriptions of the Dai-Gohonzon, a specific Gohonzon that Nichiren is believed to have inscribed on the 12th day of the tenth month of 1279. The Dai-Gohonzon has Nichiren's signature directly beneath the daimoku and is considered to be the physical embodiment of Nichiren's enlightenment and his life as the True Buddha, as well as the ultimate purpose of his advent in this world. This interpretation of the Gohonzon's significance distinguishes Nichiren Shōshū from other branches of Nichiren Buddhism.
Andon-zara (plates for lanterns) are also called abura-zara (oil plates). As the name implies, people put a plate on the lamp's lower level to prevent that or nearby tatami mats from being stained by oil dropping from the light dish (tômyô-zara) above or leaking from an oil feeder (abura-sashi) (see figs. 7 & 8).
The andon plates were just miscellaneous wares covered with oil. But by the Taishô to early Shôwa era (1910-30) people had already stopped using them, Yanagi Sôetsu who is well-known for his Mingei (folkcraft) movement, recognized their value as craftworks, and people began to collect them.
They were mainly made at Seto kilns. As a result of the artisans' experience with mass-production, the plates have a free and easy picture style, combined with skillful technique and glazes, and are worth checking out even today.
Originally andon plates were just tools for ordinary people's daily lives, so few records remain about them. But probably because collectors paid attention to Seto plates, you can find them and they convey their role and history to us.
In this article, let me tell you about Seto lantern plates, their history and role.
Raku ware (楽焼 raku-yaki ) is a type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony, most often in the form of tea bowls. It is traditionally characterized by hand molded, rather than turned, clay, which results in each piece being "one-of-a-kind"; fairly porous vessels, which result from low firing temperatures; lead glazes; and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese process, the fired raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and is allowed to cool in the open air or in a container filled with combustible material. Raku techniques have been modified by contemporary potters worldwide.
Raku means "enjoyment", "comfort" or "ease" and is derived from Jurakudai, the name of a palace, in Kyoto, that was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), who was the leading warrior statesman of the time.
In the 16th century, Sen Rikyū, the Japanese tea master, was involved with the construction of the Jurakudai and had a tile-maker, named Chōjirō, produce hand-moulded tea bowls for use in the wabi-styled tea ceremony that was Rikyū's ideal. The resulting tea bowls made by Chōjirō were initially referred to as "ima-yaki" ("contemporary ware") and were also distinguished as Juraku-yaki, from the red clay (Juraku) that they employed. Hideyoshi presented Jokei, Chōjirō's son, with a seal that bore the Chinese character for raku. Raku then became the name of the family that produced the wares. Both the name and the ceramic style have been passed down through the family (sometimes by adoption) to the present 15th generation (Kichizaemon). The name and the style of ware has become influential in both Japanese culture and literature.
In Japan, there are "branch kilns" (wakigama), in the raku-ware tradition, that have been founded by Raku-family members or potters who apprenticed at the head family's studio. One of the most well-known of these is Ōhi-yaki (Ōhi ware).
After the publication of a manual in the 18th century, raku ware was also made in numerous workshops by amateur potters and tea practitioners in Kyoto,and by professional and amateur potters around Japan.
Raku ware marked an important point in the historical development of Japanese ceramics, as it was the first ware to use a seal mark and the first to focus on close collaboration between potter and patron. Other famous Japanese clay artists of this period include Dōnyū (grandson of Chōjirō, also known as Nonkō; 1574-1656), Hon'ami Kōetsu (1556-1637) and Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743).
In raku firing, the aluminium container acts as a reduction tube, which is a container that allows the carbon dioxide to pass through a small hole. A reduction atmosphere is created by closing the container . A reduction atmosphere induces a reaction between oxygen and clay, which affects the color . It also has extraordinary effects on the metals inside the glaze. Reduction is a decrease in oxidation number . Closing the can starves the air of oxygen after the combustible materials such as sawdust catch fire and forces the reaction to pull oxygen from the glazes and the clay  . For example, luster duster gets its interesting color from deprivation of oxygen. The reduction agent is a substance from which electrons are being taken by another substance . The reaction uses oxygen from the atmosphere within the reduction tube, and, to continue, it receives the rest of the oxygen from the glazes . This leaves ions and iridescent luster behind. This creates a pleasing metallic effect. Pieces with no glaze have nowhere to get the oxygen from, so they take it from clay. This atmosphere will turn clay black, making an unattractive, matte color, without sheen.
Reduction Firing 2
Reduction firing is when the kiln atmosphere, which is full of
combustible material, is heated up. "Reduction is incomplete combustion
of fuel, caused by a shortage of oxygen, which produces carbon monoxide"
(Arbuckle, 4) Eventually, all of the available oxygen is used. This
then draws oxygen from the glaze and the clay to allow the reaction to
continue. Oxygen serves as the limiting reactant in this scenario
because the reaction that creates fire needs a constant supply of it to
continue; when the glaze and the clay come out hardened, this means that
the oxygen was subtracted from the glaze and the clay to accommodate
the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere. Consequently, the raku piece
appears black or white, which depends upon the amount of oxygen that was
lost from each area of the piece. The empty spaces that occur from the
reduction of oxygen are filled in by carbon molecules in the atmosphere
of the container, which makes the piece blacker in spots where more
oxygen was retracted.
Western raku techniques
Raku became popularized in America in the late 1950s with the help of Paul Soldner. Americans kept the general process of firing, that is, heating the pottery very quickly at high temperatures and then cooling it very fast. Besides this, America has formed its own, unique style of raku.
It is raku's unpredictable results and intense color that attract modern potters. These patterns and color result from the harsh cooling process and the amount of oxygen that is allowed to reach the pottery. Depending on what effect the artist wants, the pottery is either instantly cooled in water, cooled slowly in the open air, or placed in a barrel filled with combustible material, such as newspaper, covered, and allowed to smoke . Water immediately cools the pottery, stopping the chemical reactions of the glaze and fixing the colors. The combustible material results in smoke, which stains the unglazed portions of the pottery black. The amount of oxygen that is allowed during the firing and cooling process affects the resulting color of the glaze and the amount of crackle.
Unlike traditional Japanese raku, which is mainly hand built bowls of modest design, western raku tends to be vibrant in color, and comes in many shapes and sizes. Western raku can be anything from an elegant vase, to an eccentric abstract sculpture. Although some do hand build, most western potters use throwing wheels while creating their raku piece. Western culture has even created a new sub branch of raku called horse hair raku. These pieces are often white with squiggly black lines and smoke-like smudges. These effects are created by placing horse hair, feathers, or even sugar on the pottery as it is removed from the kiln and still extremely hot.
Raku is a unique form of pottery making; what makes it so unique is the range of designs that can be created by simply altering certain variables. These variables--which include wax resist, glazes, temperature, and timing--ultimately determine the outcome when firing a piece of clay. Wax resist, which is painted over the bare untainted clay, results in the suspension of wax in water  before the raku glaze goes on. This is done so that the glaze does not cover the area where the wax resist was applied, thus creating a design. When in the kiln, the wax melts off and the carbon, that results from oxygen reduction, replaces the wax. This is the result of the combustion reaction. Raku glazes contain alumina, which has a very high melting point. Therefore, carbon will not replace the glaze as it does the melted wax. Raku glazes also contain metallic compounds such as copper, iron, cobalt, which produce different colors. After the glaze has reached its a certain temperature, the metal in the glaze assumes its color. For example, cobalt produces dark-blue, and copper produces green but produces a red when the oxygen in the glaze is completely gone. Any unglazed areas turn black due to the carbon given off from the reduction of oxygen. Next, the clay is moved from the kiln to a container(usually a trashcan), which contains combustible organic materials such as leaves, sawdust, or paper. Once the lid of the container is closed, the reduction oxidation (redox) process begins. The temperature change from the kiln to the container is where the magic of raku occurs. The change in temperature and in the redox sometimes cause cracking or crazing. Crazing is a consistent cracking in the glaze of a piece, as is seen on the white crackle glaze. This either enhance or detract from the design. The timing of removal and placement in water directly affects the shades of each color. Introducing the water to the raku at the right time is incredibly important; if the raku does not cool enough before placement in water, the Raku can crack, break, or even explode!
Lit. thousand Buddhas. Sometimes abbreviated to senbutsu 千仏. A large number of buddhist images, usually the same size and shape, represented both in painting and sculpture, frequently in relief. Sentaibutsu originated in India, and are the manifestation of One Thousand Buddhas of Bhadrakalpa ('the present world'), or Kengou senbutsu 賢劫千仏, mentioned in various Buddhist sutras. Examples are found in the cave temples of Ajanta, Central Asia, and China. These are called senbutsudou 千仏洞 (one thousand Buddha cave). The earliest examples in Japan include the small repousse Buddhas *oshidashibutsu 押出仏 on the interior walls in the Tamamushi miniature shrine *Tamamushi no zushi 玉虫厨子 in Houryuuji 法隆寺 (mid 7c), and the bronze plaque representing a chapter from the HOKEKYOU 法華経 or Lotus Sutra, Hokke sessou-zu 法華説相図 in Hasedara 長谷寺 (late 7c), both in Nara. Although none have survived, repousse Buddhas and the reliefs of thousand Buddhas on clay tiles *senbutsu せん仏 were frequently used for the decoration of interior walls of the temples erected in 7-8c. After the 9c, however, thousand Buddhas are more often painted or carved in wood. Three Thousand Buddhas in the Three Kalpas sangou sanzenbutsu 三劫三千仏, or sanzenbutsu 三千仏 are depicted on the large hanging scrolls displayed in December for the annual ceremony of reciting the Buddhas' names (butsumyoue 仏名会). In the 12c successive ex-emperors commissioned temples dedicated to one thousand images of *Kannon 観音 and *Amida 阿弥陀. The one thousand images of Kannon with one thousand arms *Senju Kannon 千手観音 that appear in Rengeouin 蓮華王院 (commonly known as Sanjuusangendou 三十三間堂) were commissioned by Ex-emperor Goshirakawa 後白河 (1127-92) and erected in 1164 and are the most well-known sentaibutsu.
(sentaibutsu - JAANUS)
Lit. crystal eyes. Eyes made of crystal which were inserted into the head of a wooden buddhist statue in order to produce a realistic appearance. The term is also applied to the technique of inserting the eyes. The perforated eye-sockets were made in the hollowed *uchiguri 内刳 head of a wooden statue. Transparent lens-shaped crystals (or more rarely glass), painted with the pupils on their backsides, were placed into the eye-sockets from inside, with a backing of white paper or cotton, then stabilized with pieces of wood and bamboo pegs. The Amida Triad *Amida sanzon 阿弥陀三尊 dating to 1151 in Chougakuji 長岳寺, Nara, is the earliest dated extant example. With the development of the hollow joined-block technique *yoseki-zukuri 寄木造, crystal eyes became very popular and are found in most wooden sculpture after the 12c. Although the technique of applying black stone eyes from outside hitomikannyuu 瞳嵌入 was used in China and imported to Japan in the Nara period, transparent crystal eyes are uniquely Japanese, exemplifying the independent development of Japanese sculpture.
(gyokugan - JAANUS)
7 Days auction, No Reserve.
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