NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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薄茶器 Usuchaki Usuchaki

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Japanese tea used for tea ceremonies is called “matcha,” and there are two types of matcha; koicha (thick tea) and usucha (thin tea). Usucha is put in a container called “usuchaki,” while koicha in “koichaki.” In the ancient times, koicha was mainly used for tea ceremonies, but later in the 16th century, when Wabi-cha (the tea ceremony that emphasizes on simplicity) became popular, usucha began to be favored due to its plain taste and moderate price.
Natsume is a typical tea container for usucha. Natsume may be made of wood, lacquer over layers of paper, ceramic or metal. The designs also vary from the unpatterned to the ones with colorful pictures of the season. Natsume is selected in accordance with other equipments.
As natsume is simple in shape, the craftsmen’s conscience as well as the appearance quality decides the excellence of the work. It is a most suitable item for the modest atmosphere of the tea ceremony.
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松田権六(人間国宝) Matsuda Gonroku(Ningen-kokuhou) Matsuda Gonroku (Living National Treasure)

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Japan’s representative lacquer artist, a bearer of Important Intangible Cultural Heritage (designated in 1955), a recipient of the Order of Cultural Merit (1976). Born on April 20th, 1896, in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture.After graduating from Tokyo Fine Arts School (present Tokyo NationalUniversity of Fine Arts and Music), Matsuda Gonroku made a brilliant figurein his youth and dealt with a lot of work such as interior decoration of a passenger ship or Gokyusho (Emperor’s room) of the National Diet Building. Since the turbulent period right after World War II, he had made exertionsin the field of restoration of Japan’s traditional craftwork and international cultural exchange, among which were the preservation andrestoration of Kon-do (the main hall) of Chuson-ji Temple and research of Shoso-in treasures .In 1955, he founded Nohon Kougeikai and trained a lot of younger craftsmen as a leader of the post-war revitalizing movement of art and culture inJapan. He modernozed the classical art of raden or hyomon and establishedhis own gracious and gorgeousas well as expansive art style.Among his famous works are Horai Cabinet and Small Green tea container(Sakura-ryusuimon-shindai-keyaki-natume) . In his works, heexuberantly expressed a variety of motifs from the natural world by adoptingbold composition, fresh design and high technique.
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