Ishino Ryuzan, red and gold water drops with autumn flowers

A small vessel for pouring water on the inkstone to rub the ink is called as “sui-teki (water drops)”. Even though it is such a small tool, Ishino Ryuzan (石野竜山) carved the phoenix from the head to the neck at the spout, and carved the dragon at the handle. In addition, autumn flowers in full bloom are delicately drawn on this vessel, and are kept behind so that the phoenix’s grace will not be drowned out.

size ; width (maximum) about 7 cm  height (maximum) about 5.3 cm

The sacred beast was used as an auspicious pattern in both China and Japan, and in Japan, the phoenix and the dragon had the deepest roots and had special meanings such as bliss, prosperity, and longevity. In addition, when the phoenix and the dragon were drawn together, it meant that unthinkable prosperity will come, or it was said that a person who lurked the phoenix and the dragon in his mind and body would one day demonstrate his superior abilities and become an expected person.

On the other hand, Ishida adopted the “dragon” (the same meaning for both 龍 and 竜) included in the back name (竜山), and carved the dragon in molding the spout, just as many master craftsmen incorporated designs and ideas associated with their own back name into their works. Perhaps he put in this work a wish that he would acquire the skills of porcelain creation, become a promising porcelain painter, and get prosperity to the family business of the painting factory.

It is considered that “water drops” is one of the important tools, for example inkstones, brush, etc., and since the Edo period, water drops with designs such as animals and plants were made by full use of advanced metal processing techniques, or sometimes made by ceramic. The creator adopted the phoenix and the dragon, and made water drops wonderfully. It is believed that he was still active in his research at the age of 37, and under the guidance of body molding at the Matsubara Shinsuke kiln in Yawata, he made this work taking advantage of his experience of body molding. He condensed the entire skill of a master craftsman into this small vessel.

The back name has a small square stamp of “Ryuzan (竜山)” in red inside the foot, and “金城Kinjo / 竜山Ryuzan” is written in ink on the back of the lid of the wooden box, and a slightly larger “Ryuzan” stamp is stamped in red. Kinjo means Kanazawa.

creator of the work

Ishino Ryuzan 石野竜山 born in 1861, dead in 1936

The first Ishino Ryuzan learned Japanese-style paintings from two Japanese-style painters, and porcelain paintings from Hatta Itsuzan (八田逸山). Ishida built large, medium, and small painting kilns in Kanazawa and started painting business, employing two craftsmen.

Figures, mountain and waters, and flowers and birds are delicately drawn on Ishida’s works. It is said that his skill was outstanding among the craftsmen of his time, so his works were exhibited not only in domestic exhibitions but also in overseas exhibitions such as the San Francisco World’s Fair, and he won many prizes.

In addition, it is said that Ishida established a high level of technology in overglaze by studying the compatibility between the body and overglaze at the Matsubara Shinsuke kiln in Yawata (Komatsu city). In 1902, he created new overglaze such as yellow, green, dyed indigo, brown, light-green, cherry-colored, pearl, etc., and developed new painting techniques one after another. Through such glaze research, he was a master craftsman who tried to create a new glaze with a feeling like a Japanese-style painter and finished the design and pattern into a pictorial one.