How to determine hagi

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Baisao
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:35 pm

I have some hagi-yaki and have seen countless photos yet I would be hard pressed to identify a piece of hagi just by looking at it.

My understanding is that two things determine that something is hagi: location of the kiln and the type of clay used.

How can I tell if an item is hagi-yaki from just looking at an unmarked item?
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Baisao
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:01 am

@Chip, would you have some direction to help me identify hagi-yaki without written/stamped identifiers? Doing more research since I first posted the above it seems that even the base clay cannot be used to identify hagi-yaki since potters may source clays from other locations.

Imagine a situation where you find an unmarked chawan. Raku and karatsu are pretty easy to identify, but hagi seems more of an appellation of locality at this point.
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Victoria
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:33 am

@steanze, @Elise @debunix have pretty interesting Hagi collections, they may be able to comment as well.
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steanze
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:17 am

Sorry to disappoint, I only have 3 pieces... I think I could make some guesses but your guesses are likely as good or better than mine. I'd start from identifying the period and from there have some expectations about the look of the glaze, workmanship, and clay (for example if it's very white and the workmanship is XIX century or earlier it's probably not Hagi). But I think there will still be a lot of uncertainty...
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Elise
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:24 am

Hi all, thanks Victoria for reminding me to answer here. I can draw a large picture at what to look at to determine Hagi but I am not sure to find time before next week... I’ll do my best ok? :)
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Chip
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:53 am

Not sure I will be answering your questions directly, Baisao. I will just share some of my experiences with Hagi and if you have any questions, fire away.

I may have a certain degree of experience, but I am definitely not an expert on the subject.

Although in the past I have purchased some slightly older Hagi, my focus these days is more modern potters who also happen to be easily identifiable, for instance Kashun.

So for me, I simply look at a piece from a reputable seller and know by both sight and description who made it ... and it is indeed Hagi. Hagi and Hagi artisan are pretty easy to simply look at and ... just know. Following the Kashun example, his clay, glazing style, and appearance are very easy to pick out.

Back when I was buying preowned Hagi, the market available to the West was much more limited and there were fewer sellers. And the sellers were pretty reputable.

I have for now just lost interest in purchasing teaware that is not new. When I buy new, I control most of the variables to proper care and aging. It is more personal.

I also focus more now on my actual needs which is easier to do with new.

Back in the Hagi SO days on TeaChat, I would focus on the creation of special, new Hagi by

Artist

Clay, for instance oni. I did not specify origin, just from the base of what the selected artist was using. I tended to spec oni when I was able.

Style/shape/size

Glaze concept. Sometimes we would try to teach an old glaze new tricks.

Often this collaboration worked extremely well. I would try NOT to get too OCD about certain details such as where the clay came from. If the artist was already using it, that was good enough for me.

I do recall that often clay was sourced outside of Hagi, but this happens frequently in Japan in general.
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Chip
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:04 am

Might I suggest we move this topic to Teaware>Japan where it will be more at home?

I kept forgetting to post in this topic because it was out of sight ... out of mind.
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Elise
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:05 am

In the meantime you can watch this video showing « traditionnal » and more contemporary hagi pieces. https://youtu.be/TmIypnIQpVU
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Chip
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:57 am

Elise wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:05 am
In the meantime you can watch this video showing « traditionnal » and more contemporary hagi pieces. https://youtu.be/TmIypnIQpVU
Interesting video, thank you for sharing.

It does serve to illustrate that most Hagi available to the West are not produced by the old masters. More modern artists produce more readily available Hagi that may or may not be more ... innovative or use more readily available resources.
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debunix
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Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:18 am

I think of Hagi-yaki as teaware made by a Hagi-based artist, and since I've primarily purchased these from limited sources that clearly identify the origins of these pieces (TeaChat special offers, Magokorodo eBay store, Artistic Nippon), I rely on the seller's identity of the pieces to claim them as Hagi wares.

I buy pieces I just *like*, and some of them follow in the tradition as described in the video linked above, and some are quite different. I've bought two with that warm tranlucent glaze, where you can also see some slight cracks in the clay beneath the glaze, and both are no more: I think I am too rough on them for these to survive. Maybe a future self will be better equipped for such pieces. RIP Eichii yunomi

Image
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Baisao
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Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:37 am

Elise wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:05 am
In the meantime you can watch this video showing « traditionnal » and more contemporary hagi pieces. https://youtu.be/TmIypnIQpVU
Thanks for that, @Elise. Seeing enough Hagi-yaki certainly helps. I think another thing that was helpful was to see the traditional pieces in comparison to more modern pieces. Some modern Hagi-yaki I see online look as if a shino glaze was used and some use rather coarse clays, rather than the fine clay that was prepared in the video. The traditional pieces are rather more distinct in my opinion.
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Baisao
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Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:39 am

debunix wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:18 am
I think of Hagi-yaki as teaware made by a Hagi-based artist, and since I've primarily purchased these from limited sources that clearly identify the origins of these pieces (TeaChat special offers, Magokorodo eBay store, Artistic Nippon), I rely on the seller's identity of the pieces to claim them as Hagi wares.

I buy pieces I just *like*, and some of them follow in the tradition as described in the video linked above, and some are quite different. I've bought two with that warm tranlucent glaze, where you can also see some slight cracks in the clay beneath the glaze, and both are no more: I think I am too rough on them for these to survive. Maybe a future self will be better equipped for such pieces. RIP Eichii yunomi

Image
That’s another lovely yunomi. I agree with your collecting philosophy: buy what you like.
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Baisao
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Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:03 am

Chip wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:57 am
Elise wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:05 am
In the meantime you can watch this video showing « traditionnal » and more contemporary hagi pieces. https://youtu.be/TmIypnIQpVU
Interesting video, thank you for sharing.

It does serve to illustrate that most Hagi available to the West are not produced by the old masters. More modern artists produce more readily available Hagi that may or may not be more ... innovative or use more readily available resources.
Thank you for the the large write-up, @Chip. I didn’t pick up on the notion that what is available in the West are not produced by the old masters, from the video. Are you saying this because of their extended focus on white hagi-yaki?

One thing I noticed in the video is that the delicacy and refinement of the centuries old Hagi was not present in the modern examples they showed. It was as if the original style was taken to a brutalist extreme to exaggerate wabi-sabi.

I think my confusion comes from seeing “innovative” pieces that do not resemble what is in the video: non-crazing glazes and rough textured clays.

For example, this is supposed to be Hagi but doesn’t look like it to me based on what was in the video. I haven’t determined the maker yet, which complicates matters. It has minor crazing and light colored spots on an umeboshi-colored body (well that’s what the color reminds me of). It’s rather tame compared to what was in the video.
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In natural light:
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6F1968B6-3453-4EA1-86F5-23F21F9188EB.jpeg (158.75 KiB) Viewed 1372 times
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Baisao
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Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:19 am

This cup by Seigan has a glaze that reminds me of oribe more than the crazing, textured glazes of traditional Hagi-yaki. Also the foot displays a course clay body. This is another example where I wouldn’t be able to look at the unmarked piece and say that it was Hagi since I don’t see the characteristics we associate with it.
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steanze
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Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:53 am

Baisao wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:03 am

One thing I noticed in the video is that the delicacy and refinement of the centuries old Hagi was not present in the modern examples they showed. It was as if the original style was taken to a brutalist extreme to exaggerate wabi-sabi.
A few notes:

1) old Hagi was usually yellowish colored in glaze, and largely inspired by Korean wares. In the 16th century, Korean potters were brought to Hagi and they largely started the tradition of pottery in Hagi city. Some people consider Joseon period Ido-chawans as precursors of Hagi. Fun facts, A) Joseon bowls were largely used in Korea as rice bowls, B) many of them already show a "chadamari" (the dimple at the bottom of the bowl) that is then often seen in chawans. So the chadamari appears to have emerged in bowl craftsmanship before the bowls were actually used for tea.
2) Miwa Kyusetsu X (Living National Treasure) effectively introduced the whiter Hagi glaze, by adding more straw to the preparation of the glaze. That's the most popular Hagi glaze you see today. He also made some hagi pieces in other colors, including purplish and blue.
3) The exaggerate wabi-sabi direction is largely attributable to his brother, Miwa Kyusetsu XI (another Living National Treasure), who introduced the Oni-Hagi ("devil Hagi") style (https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/686259).
4) This brings us to the type of pieces that you see today: Miwa Kyusetsu XII (not a Living National Treasure) is trying to push further away from tradition, using gold glaze in combination with white and often making sculptural pieces that aren't functional. You have artisans like Shibuya Eiichi who are largely following in the footsteps of Kyusetsu XI. A particularly interesting current artisan in my view is Kaneta Masanao, who's also trying to innovate but in a different direction, exploring more faceted shapes, folds, and transparencies between the glaze and the underlying clay: I find his direction more elegant and subtle than Kyusetsu XII but just as novel.

Guinomis by Miwa Kyusetsu X combining the traditional glaze (more yellow) and his new white glaze:
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Guinomi by Kaneta Masanao showing the folds and transparencies:
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