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hamada's tea bowls

updated tue 7 jul 09


Steve Slatin on mon 6 jul 09

Bill --

I think you've hit on a very interesting
point in the snippet I quoted from your message.

Some things that are essentially indistinguishable
from other things are 'worth' more because of their
derived identification to things or people we care
about. Consequently, to a believing Catholic, a
small vial of water from the stoup at the entrance
of a noted cathedral will have more meaning than
simple water.

A letter signed by Josiah Bartlett is exceedingly
rare, but not worth as much as a (more common)
John Adams or Benjamin Franklin.

And a cheaply made lithograph with an original
Salvador Dali signature sells for more than a
well-make pencil sketch of the same scene by an
unknown artist. (And Dali sometimes signed the
pages in blank, and had them printed later.)

And I understand that there's a thriving market
in Elmeer d'Hory forgeries that have already been
identified as such, which reflects less on his
skill at imitation and more the fact that there's
already been a movie about him ...

There are Napoleon collectors who would pay very
well for a hat he wore -- but who would pay much
more for the authentic hat that he wore during the
battle of Waterloo. But a hat worn by one of his
lieutenants at Waterloo? Not so much.

There's an extended meditation on this in
P K Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" which
is a good read independent of this. A Hamada
in perfect condition is valuable because so
many of his works have been lost. Many of those
remaining are treasures. The brush work on the
two bowls on EBay didn't seem too good to me,
and that was surprising, considering how good
his brush work can be. But it connects, in some
way, to the great work.

Steve Slatin --

Whose dog yesterday lept, snatched, ducked a
swinging racket, and cheerfully returned to
me with ... a badminton bird, slobbery but
unharmed, in his mouth.

--- On Sat, 7/4/09, Bill Merrill wrote:

> From: Bill Merrill
> Subject: Hamada's tea bowls
> Date: Saturday, July 4, 2009, 8:46 PM

> I would like to have a "bad" Van Gogh!

Lee Love on mon 6 jul 09

On Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 9:32 AM, Steve Slatin wrote:

> is a good read independent of this. =3DA0A Hamada
> in perfect condition is valuable because so
> many of his works have been lost.

There's Hamada's coming out of the wazoo. He was so prolific and
he gave so many pots away, that just about everybody in Mashiko has
them in their family. Many are not gems and the gems rarely show up
for sale.

They have shows periodically at Yamani gallery in
Mashiko. I have four catalogs from the sales. There are sometimes a
few gems, but many are pretty ordinary. Prices run from $500 to

Certainly, I would take any given to me for nostalgic reasons. I
will put up some images later.

Lee Love, Minneapolis
"The tea ceremony bowl is the ceramic equivalent of a sonnet: a
small-scale, seemingly constricted form that challenges the artist to
go beyond mere technical virtuosity and find an approach that both
satisfies and transcends the conventions." -- Rob Sliberman
full essay: