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Tenryu Sekisen 天竜石仙 (?-2003)

The Tenryu valley in Iida city (Nagano) is truly a beautiful place. Surrounded by mountains and forests, the Tenryu river flows along rock formations and several Onsen. Not too far from said river lay the origins of Tenryukyo-ware.

Tenryukyo-yaki was invented in the edo period, it is said that a potter from Seto came do Iida and started making pottery for the Iida clan who at that time held an important strategic position in Nagano. Pottery became popular in Iida and several kiln were built at that time. Most of them however, disappeared over time.

The Miwa kiln where Tenryu Sekisen fired most of his works is a family owned kiln that wasn’t built until the early 1900s. Teapots, vases and garden ware was fired in a “Noborigama” kiln, a chambered climbing kiln that was run with red pine wood. The kiln was built by the first generation of the Miwa family, Sekijun Miwa, who also introduced the characteristic carvings often found on tea cups and vases.

Tenryu Sekisen was asked by a shohin and mame enthusiast to produce bonsai pots. One thing led to another and it didn’t take long until Tenryu Sekisen was producing some of the best wheelthrown and handbuilt pots in the country. Techniques similar to stamp-carving (Tenkoku) were used on his high-end pots, while the mid-end pots were usually handbuilt and glazed. Let’s have a look at two unglazed signature works:

I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as i enjoyed writing it, stay safe!

Dario

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