S1276

Blue and white incense container and cover, kôgô, moulded in the form of a three-legged toad, the cover forming the top half and head of the animal all decorated in reverse technique with prunus flower heads on a speckled blue ground, the lower section with three feet similarly decorated, the interior glazed, the base and edges unglazed, burnt red in the firing, the tail, nose and mouth with mushikui.

 

3 1/8 inches, 7.9cm long.

Tianqi, 1621-1627.

· Formerly in a Japanese private collection.

· Another incense container and cover in the shape of a frog or toad, is illustrated by Masahiko Kawahara in Ko-sometsuke Monochrome Section, no.108, p.29.

· In Trade, Taste and Transformation, Julia B. Curtis illustrates an incense container and cover in the form of a quail and notes these small boxes were made to hold incense to be added to the charcoal before the host made tea during the tea ceremony. If this part of the ritual were omitted, the kôgô could have been placed in the alcove tokonoma of the tea room for the guests to inspect and admire. So valued were these objects to tea people chajin that a list of Japan’s greatest kôgô was drawn up in the mid 19th century.

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