Japanese Vintage Pottery and Porcelain Tea Cups

Collection of Five Japanese Studio Pottery & Porcelain, (tōjiki), Teacups | 20th Century


Age:20th Century

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Images #1-1a — (Main Image) — Purchased in Kyoto from a Tōjiki Collector/Merchant who specializes in wonderful pottery and porcelain from well-known artists and National Treasures from different kilns throughout Japan. Shown are one pair and three individual pieces from his shop showing different techniques and glazes that were purchased in 1998. The Kirkwood box is not original to any artist but was part of the purchase and has writings from different kilns. This would be an excellent and very special gift for the avid tea drinker or one who appreciates the uniqueness of pottery by highly prized artists who made one-of-a-kind objects that have been treasured and appreciated in the tea-drinking world.

Images #2-3 — Houan Nakazato, (Toroemon XIII) | Karatsu-Yaki Studio Pottery Teacup | 2000

This is a Karatsu-Yaki Sake Cup by Houan Nakazato (Taroemon XIII). It was purchased at the Nakazato family kiln, (kama), in Karatsu, on the southern Island of Kyushu. This beautiful, classic-shaped teacup has a warm white and brown glaze, in which the brown feathers around the lip extending onto both the interior and exterior surface. The bottom is unglazed and shows the “three-dot” mark, (Kamajirushi), of Houan Nakazao, Toroemon XIII, born in 1923. He assumed his title after the passing of Muan Nakazato, Toroemon XII in 1985. Houan Nakazato was designated a “Living National Treasure” in 1976, and in the process returned Karatsu-Yaki to the forefront of Japanese ceramics. Dimensions: 3-1/4”h x 5” dia. 

Images #4-5 — Japanese Hagi-yaki Single Tea Cup | Contemporary Studio Ware / 1998

The second cup is a truly wonderful Hagi-yaki teacup, with a cream base of fine crackle glaze, beautiful to the touch with shallow ribbing under the glazed surface.

The charm of Hagi-yaki pottery lies in the texture of the clay and glazed surfaces, and in this case, the bottom of the piece and foot is unglazed. This results in another interesting characteristic, that is, that its color and tone change with use, especially if used to drink tea. The piece expresses a certain “simplicity” based on the original standards of its style, the characteristic of the clay, and the glazing technique. Thus, Hagi-yaki pottery has been widely appreciated by experts of the tea ceremony. It has the signature notch on the foot indicating Hagi ware. Dimensions: 3-0”h x 2-3/4” dia.

Images #6-7 — Japanese Sake Cup | Simulated Bento Box Stitch Pottery | Karatsu-Yaki Contemporary Studio Ware | 1998

The third piece is a truly unique approach to the design of a Karatsu-Yaki teacup. Its base color is a grey cream, beautiful to the touch with shallow ribbing under the glazed surface. An interesting technique to this particular piece takes its inspiration from the bento box, which is made from thinly shaved perfectly straight wood is held together with pegs or fashioned joints. This Sake cup simulates this age-old construction with the overlapping pottery pieces, held together with buttons/dowels representing the joint, or union of the two sides. The stylized feet are beautifully fashioned, celebrating the piece and giving the bottom further dimension and character. There is an unidentified impressed makers mark incorporated into the bottom of the cup. Dimensions: 2-1/8”h x 2-1/8”dia.

Images #8-9 — Japanese Porcelain Tea Cups with Simulated Basket Finish | Contemporary Studio Ware | 1993

This wonderful and unusual pair of Porcelain Teacups, which are made for hot beverages having a double wall to keep the liquid warm and exterior touch comfortable while drinking. Each has a wonderful hand/feel, with a textured base and variegated finish of a rarely seen basket motif on the exterior of the body. The interior has a smooth fine white Porcelain finish making it easy to make fresh for the next cup. There is no indication of the maker or studio.

Vintage Condition of Each piece: Excellent, original condition, “as is”, and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear, or structural damage is noted.

NOTE SPECIFIC TO HAGI WARE: Hagi-yaki pottery is influenced by Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea in 1592. Hideyoshi ordered a Hagi lord, Mori Terumoto, to bring back two famous Korean potters, the brothers Yi Sukkwang and Yi Kyung, and made them establish kilns in Hagi. This is why Hagi-yaki pottery was also called Kourai, or Korean pottery.

... Read more

Customer Reviews

One of the most beautiful pieces I have purchased in over 10 years

I recently purchased one of the most beautiful pieces I have purchased in over 10 years. The information you provided was excellent, the piece is in mint condition as advertised, with a subject matter I did not have in my collection.

— dbl

Delightful and well written book

Just downloaded my ebook on Sosaku Kokeshi. Excellent and so excited to see that you transposed the hardbound version. Exceptional large color images with great descriptions and details. It is so nice to have a copy I can carry when touring and when I am on-line shopping for Kokeshi. Also nice not to have to pay for international shipping.

— Author's name

A great doll

As always, a carefully packed order arrived this morning. This Sosaku Kokeshi – Takeda, Nori Aki Kaze is a great doll. Her large attractive head and maple leaf pattern, along with the vibrant colour make this doll very intriguing. Another copy of your new book that I have ordered for my friend will be a great Christmas Present for him. Much appreciated. I have also enjoyed furthering my knowledge of Japanese Antiques and Collectibles through your website.

— Kathy

You did the subject justice

Vintage Kokeshi and its history is absolutely a topic thats close to my heart, so Im pleased that you wrote about it. Im also happy that you did the subject justice bringing the history of these creative artifacts to light. Not only do you know a great deal about it, you know the way to present the subject in a way that individuals will wish to read far more. Im so happy to know a person/site like you exists on the internet. I understand you are writing a book on Sosaku Kokeshi artists. That will be high on my list for there is nothing in English on the subject, and I am worried that the craftsmen and their creations will be lost as Japan becomes more western in attitude. Doomo arigato gozaimasu from Japan.

— Misugi

Truly opened my eyes

I recently purchased your book on Kokeshi and what a find after collecting for over 10 years with no information to base my purchases on. Now I have YOUR ILLUSTRATIVE BOOK and it has truly opened my eyes. All the associated stories and folk tales give such light to my collection. A curator at the Japanese American National Museum in LA told me about this great resource. Your book happens to be astonishingly precise although I can understand why someone else has not written a book on the subject, because all the artists producing Kokeshi remain obscure and little information available has not been translated. Your book truly did switch the light on for me personally as related to Japanese folk art.

— John G

Detailed textual information & beautiful photographs

We just received your new book, Sosaku Kokeshi: A New Look at an Old Tradition. Let us be the first to congratulate you on this superb follow-up to Kokeshi: Wooden Treasures of Japan. Your comprehensive text with its notes on the artists and the beautiful photography create a work that any collector of Kokeshi should have if they wish to develop an understanding of and knowledge about this Japanese folk art. We don’t know which is better (Does either have to be better?), the detailed textual information or the beautiful photographs. Both insist upon and rightfully demand spending time to enjoy and appreciate them. Thank you so much for adding to our appreciation of Kokeshi.

— Masakazu & Keiko Ota

Another great Kokeshi book edition

Another great Kokeshi book edition. I was thrilled to see many of the Kokeshi in my collection in your book. I even found a few that I still had not been able to identify, it was nice to finally know the artisans behind my wonderful collection.

— M. Molina

My kokeshi collection has become more focused and personal now that I am able to recognize which dolls I am truly drawn to

Whether you are a kokeshi doll collector like I am, or exploring Japanese folk art for the first time, Sosaku Kokeshi – A New Look at an Old Tradition is a wonderful, informative resource for collectors and a lovely visual introduction to Sosaku dolls. I just purchased a copy of the book, and I could not be more pleased! With its beautiful colour photographs, signatures and profiles of the artists along with titles of the dolls, it is a well-researched, comprehensive resource. While some dolls featured in the book were familiar to me, I was also introduced to artists and dolls that I have never seen or heard of before.

These two books have helped me to learn so much more about kokeshi dolls, and influence my thoughts on the process of doll selection. My kokeshi collection has become more focused and personal now that I am able to recognize which dolls I am truly drawn to. These two books have become an extension of and just as much a part of my collection as the dolls that sit on my shelves.

— Karen W.

WONDERFUL exposition.

The artwork on each doll is literally like a unique painting historically recording the Japanese culture. Thank you for your fine work and this educational experience.

— TM

After we purchased the first one, we fell irresistibly in love

We started collecting Kokeshi only a short time ago with the expert guidance of Michael and Robert. Beginning with a goal of three or four dolls for each of our granddaughters, we almost immediately changed our goal after we purchased the first one and fell irresistibly in love with this Japanese folk art.

We have amassed a small collection that we display proudly.

In spite of our limited background and only a little research to support our evaluation, Sosaku Kokeshi: A New Look at an Old Tradition is a magnificent work on the subject of these wooden dolls which make up a segment of the folk arts of Japan. The detailed background materials on the artists and the notes on the dolls can be an invaluable part of one’s collection. The marvelous photography is an excellent complement to the text, as we re-viewed the images many times, envying the owner of each doll.

— Koigirl

I love my new jewelry box!!

Just want to say MAHALO — love my new jewelry box!! I wanted this tobacco box to hold my modest collection of jewelry. I tend to march to the beat of a different drummer most of the time, and I often repurpose items. When I saw this lovely Japanese box you were selling, I thought “bingo!” — perfect!! So, many thanks… and I hope to occasionally purchase an item now and then now that I know about you!

— Kristi

Delightful Kokeshi book

I received your delightful Kokeshi book, and I am very grateful to have discovered this beautiful publication. The photographs are singular elegant portraits. It is wonderful you have included the calligraphy kanji signature of the craftsman, as important as the beautiful painted dolls. Your book gives provenance to my small treasured collection and a guide in my search for more. Exciting to also discover a few of mine already in your book. Many thanks again for gifting this special kokeshi edition and I hope to continue to share the joy.

— Tania

Oh my goodness! She has arrived and she is divine!

She was beautifully packed and arrived safe and sound. She is so gorgeous and I thank you so much for all that you have done along the way. You provide such a professional yet also personable business and it was a delight dealing with you.
Thank you for bringing such gorgeous items to our attention – these Kokeshis are ‘works of art’ and we are lucky to be able to purchase them and bring them into our lives and homes.
I had to send you a photo of her with her new family and I have to say, as you predicted, she fits in beautifully.
I shall keep an eye on your website for further ‘treasures’.

— Karen, the lucky owner of ‘Pigtails’ by Ishihara, Hideo

Mingei Arts can't be beat!

Thank you for your attention and guidance to a new mingei collector. Both your publication and mingei are outstanding, your packing is perfect and shipping prompt.

— Brenda

Really beautiful.

Got the vase over the weekend. Somehow this medium really speaks to me, at least the objects where most everything is in different shades of brown. Very appealing. Yes, too bad I missed out on the ginger jars you had for sale. Ah well, it’s all OK in the universe. And what clever use of materials for safe packing!

— Da-Shih

Shopping through the items in this store is like treasure hunting, without the hunting.

I have several items from Robert & Michael’s collection now and they all hold a special place in my home and warm my heart when I see them. Something about the art from Japan just makes me feel at peace and also comforted.

— Jessie

I could not be happier with my three new Kokeshi

Your time and personal attention was gratefully appreciated. I could not be happier with my three new Kokeshi – I have them displayed where I pass by often so I can stop and look at them – they always bring a smile to my face! They make me HAPPY! I also love your book and eBook. Thank you so much!

— Barb

Opened my eyes to the diversity and beauty of an amazing art form

It wasn’t until I got your book that I realized what I had been missing these past years! Now I am totally addicted.

— B

Great spinning top

I purchased a vintage spinning top for a gift, and I absolutely love it! The ordering process was fast and easy, and the item was in the condition described on the website.

— Carmela

Thank you for sending this book to me

It is beautiful, so informative and stunning pictures. Well done to you both for producing this. Any wonder so many people around the world love it. I  will love using it as my reference book. You have both been so lovely to deal with……I look to you both as experts in all things Kokeshi and Japanese art, and look forward to our continued friendship across the world.
🙏🏻🐨💐🥂👘🌎🌏🍱 🥰

— Karen