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: economics and craft in japan phil's cute

updated wed 1 oct 03


Lee Love on tue 30 sep 03

little puppy dog tails chopped off..

----- Original Message -----
> Okay...then how much are the little 'Tea Bowls' made by the
> 'right' Masters tending to get sold for?

Little "Tea Bowls?" Do you mean senchawan, banchawan or yunomi?
These are what I think of as "little" tea bowls. Or are you talking about
"big" teabowls, matchawan?

There are different Masters and a range of prices. It is always
problematic to critique without specific examples.

>What kind of output have some of these 'Masters' of items as sell for that
> range?

I believe it differs greatly. A Shigaraki potter I met in July
only fires about 150 pieces in his Anagama 3 times a year. Other people
produce much more. Production varies from kiln to kiln.

>Are these items yes-or-no often made by 'apprentices'
> and, when they fit-the-bill,

My direct experience is limited. From the Living Treasures I
personally know about, the matchawan are always made by the master of the

>the 'Master' puts his chop on the thing?

Are you talking about the hanko stamp? Hamada didn't use one on any of
his work. But the work he made or decorated (the mold made work was made by
shokunin, but decorated by him) came with a box saying that he made the
work. The boxes of the work made by his shokunin were signed as "Hamada
Kiln" work.

The economics have to be examined within the context of the culture.
Much of the high prices for new work are caused because of investment.
These are not consumable products.

These works are not looked at as being "beneath" an oil
painting painted by a European master. The same arguments made for the
prices of these works of art can be made for tea ceremony ware. Why is it
easy to understand a 10 million dollar oil painting but difficult to
understand a $5,000.00 tea bowl?

I personally would be more likely to buy a Hamada tea bowl before I
would pay the same amount of money on an oil painting. But that isn't
because of absolute value, but rather, because of my subjective appreciation
of Hamada, his life, and his work.

Lee In Mashiko, Japan

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