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Kogo (Incense Box)

Arakawa Toyozo

Asian Art

Arakawa Toyozo, an apprentice of Kitaoji Rosanjin, devoted his life to re-creating Shino and yellow-and-black Seto wares of the Momoyama period. He eventually received the Japanese honor of being designated a Living National Treasure. The donor of this object relates the fascinating story of her meeting with the artist in 1956. Together they viewed the famous Chinese painting of six persimmons (kaki) by the Song artist Mu Ch'i (active thirteenth century), which was on view in an exhibition of treasures in a Japanese museum.

Arakawa went back to his studio and fashioned this small incense box in the form of the fruit, firing it with the simple but effective decoration technique known as nezumi-Shino (gray Shino). He then gave it to Mrs. Conant as a memento of their experience.

MEDIUM Gray Shino Ware; stoneware with feldspathic glaze over iron slip
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES ca. 1956
    PERIOD Showa period
    DIMENSIONS 2 1/4 x 2 3/8 in. (5.7 x 6 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Ellen Conant
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Arakawa Toyozo (Japanese, 1894-1985). Kogo (Incense Box), ca. 1956. Gray Shino Ware; stoneware with feldspathic glaze over iron slip, 2 1/4 x 2 3/8 in. (5.7 x 6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Ellen Conant, 76.207. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 76.207_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Incense box in the shape of a persimmon. Small globular box that separates into a flattened hemispherical lower section with a stepped-in, unglazed lip and a domical lid with a knob in the form of a persimmon stem. Recessed foot, four subtle vertical indentations, realistically-modeled leaf-like cap. Covered except for the lip areas with a gray glaze mottled to reddish brown depending on its thickness and the presence of iron oxide on the clay surface. Three prominent spur marks on footrim. Condition: No damage.
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    Kogo (Incense Box)