5/10/2015 | Weekly Highlight: HOSOKAWA Morihiro
Many politicians have talents that go beyond mere politics: Winston Churchill was an accomplished painter, Bill Clinton plays the saxophone, and Hosokawa Morihiro, the 79th Prime Minister of Japan, is an established potter!
HOSOKAWA Morihiro was born in Tokyo, the eldest grandson of Moritatsu, Third Marquess Hosokawa and the 14th Head of the Hosokawa clan. His maternal grandfather is the pre-war Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoe. Despite this prestigious political heritage, and even during his own very successful political career, Hosokawa always dreamed of running a rural farm, working in the fields in fine weather and reading at home in wet weather. He even bought a farm in Aso, Kumamoto, but his political responsibilities kept him from realizing his ideal.
After leaving the position of Prime Minister, Hosokawa came across the ceramic works of Tsujimura Shiro in a catalogue and was immediately taken with them. He called Tsujimura and requested to see his studio. Once there, Hosokawa found what seemed like a wild kingdom where bats, insects, moths, dogs, and cats all ran free. He became irreversibly hooked and asked Tsujimura to teach him the art of ceramics.
Hosokawa spent a year and a half under Tsujimura's honest and strict teaching, where he learned to use the potter's wheel and how to create various kinds of pottery. Now, he shows his work often at famous department stores. This piece comes from one such exhibition, and is a summer tea bowl with Hakeme 刷毛目 decoration.
The open tea bowl form is designed for summer use, as it allows the tea to cool more quickly than other tea bowls might. The Hakeme decoration was originated in Korea in the 15th century. In Old Korea, white porcelain was forbidden, and so ceramicists tried to make white pottery using slip. But to save this precious material, potters painted it on using a straw or brush rather than dipping their wares into the slip. The oldest Japanese pottery to use the Hakeme technique dates from the early 17th century in Karatsu.
Here, the brushed-on slip creates a sense of swirling motion on the interior of the tea bowl, as if the liquid it held were slowly spinning. Its beautiful wide shape fits perfectly in the hand, and would serve an ideal cup of summer tea.
HOSOKAWA Morihiro 細川護煕 (1938-)
Hakeme Tea Bowl 刷毛目茶碗
H7.1cm x Dia15cm, H2.8" x Dia5.9"
With Signed Wood Box