CHIKURIN GUNKO ZU (by Zenshoh Yamaoka)

diameter: 4.92inch (12.5cm) height: 3.15inch (8.0cm), standard matcha bowl size
Sophisticated Kyo Yaki (Kyoto Style)
Made by Zenshoh Yamaoka at Zenshoh Kiln

(Please note: Because this item is made-to-order, it takes approximately 3 weeks from the time you order this item until the date it is shipped from Kyoto, Japan. Once ordered, any order change or cancel can NOT be accepted. If you order this item with other items, they will be shipped together.)

NIJO Castle is not only a Japanese national treasure but also a world heritage site listed in 1994. All of the 954 paintings on FUSUMA sliding doors and murals called SHOHEKIGA at NIJO Castle are designated as nationally important cultural properties. The SHOHEKIGA paintings are from the KANO school, which was the largest and most significant school in the history of Japanese painting. The KANO school flourished for about 400 years from the 15th century to 19th century, and was always at the center of the Japanese art world. (for more info; NIJO Castle, SHOHEKIGA Paintings, KANO School)

We, Hibiki-an and Zenshoh Yamaoka, who is the leading expert of paintings derived from masterpieces in the middle ages, cooperated and arranged a series of Matcha Bowls featuring SHOHEKIGA paintings of NIJO Castle.

It is said that CHIKURIN GUNKOZU, painted by Jinnojho KANO in 1626, is one of the most representative of SHOHEKIGA paintings at NIJO Castle along with MATSU TAKA ZU. CHIKURIN of this name means bamboo grove, GUNKO means tiger pride, and ZU means painting in Japanese. Bamboo grove is auspicious in Japan.

All paintings in NIJO Castle were comprehensively and completely designed to stage each hall and room depending on the different roles of each location. CHIKURIN GUNKO ZU was painted for the west wing of TOHZAMURAI great entrance hall.

The west wing's role was to welcome DAIMYO vassal lords and is decorated with strong, dynamic paintings in order to show the dignity of the SHOGUN emperor to DAIMYO vassal lords. DAIMYO vassal lords should have felt awed to see paintings of the tiger pride at the great entrance hall. This CHIKURIN GUNKOZU is the centerpiece of the paintings at the west wing of TOHZAMURAI great entrance hall.
Tigers have not made their habitat in Japan, and there have never been tigers in the wild in Japan. So, at that time in ancient Japan, tigers were painted only from images seen in books and described in lore. And in this way, the imagined tigers gain dynamism and stringency like mythological creatures of legend. The animal which appears to be a leopard is actually a female tiger, which were believed to appear in this way, at that time in history.

This Matcha Bowl is coated with pigment containing real gold over the entire outside surface. Then this is painted exquisitely and precisely and it recalls features of the KANO school at this age faithfully.

This Matcha Bowl will certainly please the viewer with the features of the KANO school, vivid and dynamic composition, exquisite and delicate brushwork and use of color, efficient white space, and so on.





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Zenshoh Yamaoka

Zenshoh Yamaoka was born in 1942. He worked under Zenjiroh Ueyama for 10 years, and then opened his own Zenshoh kiln in 1969.
His paints derived from masterpieces in the middle ages are excellent. It is said his precise drawing techniques are in a class of their own. Indeed, he was officially designated as the traditional craftsman by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2002. His sophisticated, exquisite, elegant, and advanced drawing techniques receive high acclaim in the Kyo Yaki pottery industry.


- It is best to wash this item using only tepid water or mild chlorine-free dish washing detergent.
- If necessary, you may occasionally use a chlorine detergent.
- Do not sterilize by boiling, or in a dish washing machine.

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