A Ring Handled Celadon Vase by Suwa Sozan (1852 – 1922)

Artist:Suwa Sozan (1852 - 1922)Era:MeijiPrice:$2,500Inquire:info@shirakuragallery.com

A Chinese style celadon vase by one of the 5 Imperial Court Artists of Meiji. Sozan spent his life perfecting techniques for celadon production first used in the Souther Song Dynasty as evidenced here with the powdery blue “”kinuta”. The outer ring of the foot is unglazed showing the fine porcelain clay this piece is constructed from and the glazed center bears the seal of the Imperial Court Artist who fashioned this piece. While several of Sozan’s better known motifs appear on the market with a fair degree of regularity, this is the first time I have seen this particular combination of ring handles and patterned clay body.

Suwa Sozan I (1852—1922) was born in an area of what is known today as Ishikawa prefecture. After a short stint in the military he took up pottery design and painting under Touda Tokuji in 1873. From this point forward, he divided his time mainly between Kanazawa and Tokyo working at a number of kilns and research institutes. While in Tokyo, he made the acquaintance of famed conservator of Japanese art Ernest Francisco Fenollosa and the two became fast friends. In 1900 Sozan was invited to Kyoto to work at the Kinkozan kiln where he became noticed for his great skill in creating fine porcelain and celadon works. Several years later in 1907, he set up an independent porcelain and ceramics kiln on Gojo-zaka in Kyoto where he specialized in making a variety of porcelain pieces, most noted of which were his fine powdery-blue celadon pieces modeled after classic Chinese forms like the one seen here. In 1917, Sozan was awarded the title of Teishitsu Gigei-in or Imperial Court Artist—what could be considered a precursor to the modern day Ningen Kokuho or National Living Treasure.

In fine antique condition, this piece is 6 inches across (15 cm) and stands 14 inches tall (35 cm). It has Sozan’s stamp clearly impressed on the base and comes in its original box signed and sealed by this Imperial Court Artist.