A Celadon Shishi Statue by first generation Miyagawa Kōzan (1842–1916)

Artist:Miyagawa Kōzan (1842–1916)Era:MeijiPrice:SoldInquire:info@shirakuragallery.com

One of only five Imperial Court Artists of Meiji, ceramic pieces by Kōzan are highly prized by collectors and are ever more difficult to find on the market these days. Here we have a fantastic example of a guardian shishi from the Kōzan kiln crafted in fine celadon. Considered auspicious symbols of wealth, status, and good fortune; foo dogs—commonly referred to as shishi or koma-inu in Japan—are often seen in pairs guarding shrines, straddling in the doorways of shops, and protecting public buildings. These mythical effigies have deep religious and social symbolism and can be seen in countries across Asia.

Originally from a long line of Kyoto potters specializing in tea-ware, Miyagawa Kōzan (1842–1916) spent the first two years of his potting career at a family kiln in Bizen before eventually moving to Yokohama—accepting a position as head of a workshop producing porcelains for export. After a series of mishaps including a devastating fire, Kōzan rebuilt using his own funds thereby becoming an independent manufacturer. Riding the trends of the time towards internationalization and modernization, Kōzan actively displayed pieces in Japan and abroad, winning prizes at 51 exhibitions, most notably The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia, The Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris, and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Today his pieces are held by countless museums and in private collections around the world.

In fine antique condition, this celadon shishi is 5.8 inches in width (14.7 cm), 8.3 inches in length (21 cm), and stands 3.8 inches tall (9.5 cm). Matching stamp can be found in our comprehensive database and an identical piece is held by the National Museum of Scotland thanks to a generous donation by David and Anne Hyatt King (link below). https://www.nms.ac.uk/search?term=miyagawa&submit=Search