Tokkuri with Enso by Living National Treasure Kato Kozo (b. 1935)

Artist:Kato Kozo (b. 1935)Era:ContemporaryPrice:$1,

This depiction of the eternal “ensō” on a backdrop of pearly white feldspar over red clay signifies enlightenment, the eternal, the nothingness, and the freedom of the mind to envision and to create. Wood-fired in a small-batch ana-gama, the techniques used to produce such works stretch back over 500 years and were only recently revived in the first half of the previous century by a dedicated group of artists.

The potter who created this piece (Kato Kozo) was born in 1935 in Gifu prefecture and is one of the most recognized and celebrated traditional Japanese potters alive today. Trained by Arakawa Toyozo he maintains a very traditional lifestyle in the small mountain town of Taijimi where he works to produce small batches of high-quality implements using methods passed down from generation-to-generation. Like Toyozo before him, Kato was designated as a Living National Treasure (2010) and his pieces are highly sought after today, with examples of his work residing in museums around the world including the Tokyo National & the Modern Museums, the National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art Pomona to name a few. The work featured here is an example of one of Kato’s finer pieces and (in our humble opinion) easily on par with works displayed at any of these museums.

This piece is 4.5 inches in diameter (11.4 cm) and stands 6 inches tall (15 cm). In excellent condition, it bears the artist’s signature on the base, comes with a sealed and signed box (tomobako). It also comes with a protective cloth (with seal) and an insert in Japanese detailing Kato’s career and gives some information on the kiln.