Koito Taizan was born Nagakura Saburo in 1911 and died in 1997. The Koito-yaki kiln was one of old kilns in Japan, and first opened in the Edo period, Kanei era(1624-1643). Before the war, Koito Taizan returned to his hometown after an apprenticeship in Seto, in order to establish himself as a potter, and reconstruct the kiln of his forefathers.
He asked Kyuzo Murata of Kyuka En in Omiya Village, his cousin, for assistance and guidance in reconstructing the Koito kiln, and completed the task in 1946. If you’re not familiar with the name, Murata was a famous bonsai artist, and Koito Taizan began making small bonsai containers commissioned by Kyukaen. In 1949 the first stage firing of 200 small bonsai pots was completed. The containers fascinated enthusiasts from the start with their whimsy and charming decorations. Shortly after winning the coveted Fine Arts Exhibition prize, Koito Taizan was forced to leave the kiln to his son as honorary director after a political appointment as Ethnic Director of Hida, and he never fired bonsai containers again.
Consequently, There exist only 200 total Koito Taizan bonsai pots….that’s extraordinarily rare. Koito Taizan containers are valued for their simplicity, charming, and whimsy, unlike many if the other popular painters whose work we’ve looked at, which is judged on great detail.
Now, on to the pots!
Photo courtesy Yorozuen. A classically painted six sided pot In red showing excellent Patina. Multiple views of a small rectangle with huge lip and various designs. Charming. An interesting rectangle with lip and cut corners. Excellent patina and interesting flow to the painting. Multiple views of a cut cornered rectangle with dragon. Koito Taizan’s style is interesting and unique, and very apparent in this piece. A Blue painted rectangle with birds and clouds. Reminiscent of Okumura Shouzan. A Simple rectangle with flowers and crackle glaze. Colorful and whimsical. A very simple rectangle with line designs. Lovely and very unique pattern. 5 sided container with geometrics and kanji. This foot style is very rare for Koito Taizan. Another blue painted container similar to the one above, with birds offset in porcelain. Only Koito Taizan and Okumura Shouzan use this technique well. A soft red glazed rectangle with arabesques. Simple and classical. One of only a few glazed containers from Koito Taizan. Very nice Ruri glaze. Reminiscent of Tofukuji and Aiso. Reddish Ochre rectangle with cut corners. You’ll note that almost all of the Koito Taizan shown here are rectangles or squares. Taizan used only press molding and carving, so there are very few ovals or rounds(real ones anyway). Photo courtesy Yorozuen. Octagon with a rich Oribe green and lovely patina. Photo courtesy Yorozuen. One of very few legitimate ovals that exist. Marvelous patina and simple design. A six sided contaner with patterned quince flower panels. Another of the few ovals that exist. Interesting pattern, like fluer de lis. Another oval with an interesting fluer de lis pattern. The patina on this piece is exceptional for a 65 year old piece of porcelain. And we’ll finish up our look at Koito Taizan with this cut cornered rectangle, photo courtesy Yorozuen. Excellent patina and an interesting mountain and mist scene, reminiscent of Katsushita Hokusai.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the work of Koito Taizan!
Thanks for Reading!