Hakeme Bowl by Ninnami Dohachi (1783 – 1855)

A beautiful example of a Hakeme style bowl, this one quite rare as it was made around 200 years ago by the son of the founder of the Dohachi line of potters. Traditionally decorated using a brush made from rice straw, a white slip is applied to the darker clay body with a wide sweeping stroke to achieve the effect seen here. Over time this style became a favorite among Japanese tea masters for its natural and unpretentious feeling.

One of the most well-known names in Kyoto pottery, the Dohachi line began in 1742 with the birth of Takahashi Dohachi the first. Born the second son of a shop owner from Ise, at the age of 25 he traveled to Kyoto where he was inspired by Awataguchi pottery. At first he took a great interest in Nanga style painting and later would make decorated ceramics with paintings depicting Chinese classic motifs. Eventually becoming skilled in a number of styles, the breadth of his work is impressive, the majority of which either directly emulated Chinese pieces or were inspired by them; later generations would go on to create both Chinese and authentically Japanese style ceramics. Working alongside many other great names of his day, Dohachi the first left a great legacy that would carry his name through nine generations to the present day.

The piece seen here is by the son of Takahashi Dohachi who went by the name of Ninnami. Like his father, he specialized in making fine porcelains that were painted with Chinese lettering and motifs, much of which was for the Sencha style of tea. He also took an interest in Korean style Korai-ware and in Japanese Raku. Much later in his career he would go on to take an interest in more rustic styles of pottery from the surrounding provinces of Kyoto.

In excellent condition this piece is 7.5 inches in diameter at its widest point (19 cm), and stands 3.2 inches tall (8 cm). It comes with a period box with several labels that describe it as a Hakeme bowl by Ninnami Dohachi. Included in the box is a card from the Kyoto tea-ware shop where this was purchased with a description detailing the artist written in Japanese. As can be seen in images above, the base of the bowl is signed by Dohachi Ninnami. A particularly fine example of a Hakeme dish by one of the early progenitors of the Dohachi line of potters, this would make an excellent addition to any collection of Japanese ceramics.


Additional Resources: