Weekly Highlight: SUZUKI Goro Tea Caddy

Weekly Highlight: SUZUKI Goro (1941- )

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These two precious tea caddies by artist Suzuki Goro just beg to be held and caressed.

On this Narumi Oribe Chaire, the top quarter of slender caddy is the iconic Oribe orange clay with white strips, accented with black iron-glaze lines. The rest of the piece is covered in Goro's exuberant Oribe green, which feels like morning dew on green grass that has caught the first glistening rays of sunshine. The artist has made windows in this lush green. In one we see a bird perched on a rock at the fore, a rolling mill behind, and the outlines of far away mountains under a floating plum flower. Another is simpler but no less effective in design, holding strings of hanging dried persimmons. And look: a third tender picture reveals an early summer fruit. Each turn brings new and lovely surprises, and Goro's creativity does not stop there. He has brilliantly carved and scraped away the extra clay to create a tactile and rugged finish, and finishes with a burgundy lacquer lid. Truly a master's piece!

Goro's extraordinary Goribe style continues to thrill. We have brought you many Goribe pieces in the past, and this Goribe tea caddy is an excellent addition to the series.Reading like a collaged masterpiece, this black tea caddy brings together several humorous vignettes set into small roundels. These scenes show a gourd, a baby melon on the vine, and a spiral reminiscent of the paintings of Alexander Calder. A rectangular window of yellow Seto-style clay reveals the outline of a flower, overpainted in a deep green hue. These scenes are set off against a pitch black body that has the feeling of rich, supple leather. The contrast between the deep black and the playfully illustrated scenes gives this piece a graphic feel. It encourages visual and tactile exploration, as Goro continues to delight our many senses.

The tea caddy originated in China. When Zen Buddhist Eisai (栄西) brought the seed of the tea tree to Japan, he used a ceramic container to hold his gift to the Kyoto monk Myoue-syonin (明恵上人). In China, people had used these small containers for medicines or spices, but they traditionally did not have lids. With the advent of tea culture in the Muromachi and Momoyama period, these tea caddies from China became extremely valuable, so much so that generals used them in negotiations and sometimes even fought battles over them.

Early Japanese tea caddies followed the Chinese styles, but during the Edo period soon after they evolved into unique Japanese forms that included both ceramic and lacquer works. Here, Goro has made a lacquer lid and a ceramic lid to compliment these two splendid tea caddies. Treasure them!


SUZUKI Goro 鈴木五郎 (1941- )
Tea Caddy Narumi Oribe 茶入 鳴海織部
H11 x Dia6.3cm, H4.3" x Dia2.5"
Signed Go 五 at the bottom
With Signed Wood Box

Tea Caddy Goribe 茶入 五利部
H9.1 x Dia7.3cm, H3.5" x Dia2.8"
Signed Go 五 at the bottom
With Signed Wood Box