Karahashi Homiyabi was born September 5, 1920, in Kyoto. Before bonsai pottery, he helped with the family business making traditional Kyo-yaki ware. He started his earnest apprenticeship as a potter/painter in 1970 under Heian Matsumoto, and gained his independence in 1975, whereupon he built a hybrid gas/electric kiln and took the potter name “Kiyoumine Ogurayama”. Ogurayama entered his first big bonsai pottery exhibition, the National Masterpiece Kobachi, in 1981, and took the Grand Prize. Since then, he’s won numerous awards and medals for his work. He is now retired, and his son is the Ogurayama.
This is our second look at Ogurayama. The first was 3 years to the day I started working on this article earlier this month: Ogurayama Part 1.
Ogurayama’s work and style are quite varied and impressive: Carved pieces, underglaze painting, over glaze enamel, and glazed containers are all excellent. His painting work is an interesting mix of traditional Kyo-Yaki style and his own innovative pictorial style. Very popular in the Japanese Shohin shows like Gafu Ten, very underrated for the quality, and at a great price point.
Now….on to the pots!
Ogurayama creates some of the best winter scene painted containers I’ve seen, from any painter. This piece is sublime, with just enough color to focus the attention on the figures crossing the bridge. The demon feet are a great touch, and show his carving work in addition to excellent painting.
A very nice figure painting sometsuke. Very nicely detailed figures, and excellent patina. Traditional Kyo-yaki arabesques, another showing excellent patina.
A really unique piece. The top a very highly detailed 5 color figure painting, and the base a gold overglaze enamel. Astounding contrast. A simple glazed cream oval with red accents.
Another traditional style painting, of Ume in bloom. The single offset bloom to the right of center creates an assymetry that makes the pot stand apart(and gives direction and flow to the painting). A less detailed sometsuke figure piece than the previous examples. More Spartan, with a great use of negative space and a clear story.
An almost coral red glaze with cram accents. Interesting form and the darkening of the glaze in the center process an interesting symmetry, complimenting the cut feet.Traditional Kyoto style geometrics and a mokko panel landscape. Good patina on this piece. An easily usable pot.
Another very detailed figure painting. There are two things about this pot that really stand out for me: the hole in the foot, which is a nice touch, and the figure pointing up and outward. The latter provides flow and direction to the piece, and that his index finger just barely crosses the clearly defined line of the scene is fascinating. I see it as almost spiritually metaphorical. An abstract painting with Hiragana(ほ-ho). Hiragana is a phonetic way of writing Japanese, more closely resembling our western writing than Kanji. It is considered feminine in style and often used by poetesses.
Two sides of a fascinatingly colored rectangle. The upper seems like a Monet, the Lower calls to my mind Van Gogh. Really interesting and unique style here.
Oribe glazed green and blue with demon feet. Fantastic glaze and Clay work.
Another really interesting container showing multiple levels of talent. The indent corners, bottom sash, and clean lines show excellent clay work, the brilliant yellow shows Ogurayama’s glazing expertise, and the ken mokko shaped panel with go-sai landscape show his painting skill. An excellent piece, with a great patina. Another landscape rectangle. This piece is highly detailed, and the color variations Ogurayama pulls from the sometsuke are astounding.
This piece throws me for a loop. Sitting under a tree, we are looking out on a landscape, rather than looking in. Like the finger crossing the frame in the previous piece, this shows something entirely different and more artistic in meaning and purpose than we see from most painters of bonsai containers. Very different….
A really excellent and cartoonish winter scene with good patina, on a soft cornered rectangle with half cloud feet. Lovely. Enough said.
Overglaze enamel birds over waves. The black on Orange is a striking combination. We’ll finish up our second look at the work of Ogurayama with this extremely odd cut corner ruri rectangle….with what I believe to be are the classical frolicking children…but very oddly rendered. The overglaze painting calls to my mind the appearance of chalk drawn on the street, by children, of children(or maybe astronauts). Another meta piece.
From a few other angles, you can see the nicely carved demon feet glazed in gold enamel. An truly outstanding piece, from a woefully underrated master of Bonsai Ceramics.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for updates tomorrow on upcoming lectures and locations, and take a look at the updated “Services” page under the menu bar!
Seth recently recommended I start reading your blog and I gotta say it was a damn good recommendation, really informative and interesting posts my man.
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