Toda Tokuji, red and gold hexagon sake-bottle with peony and Chinese poetry

The richness of peony is expressed by combining the red peony figure and the Chinese poetry written in red. In particular, Toda draw peony by painting with thin lines with gold. The characteristics of typical Kanazawa aka-e can be seen here.

size: Body diameter (maximum) approx. 6.8 cm Height approx. 17 cm

While there are works with designs to decorate waka poems, in this work were incorporated Chinese poetry to praise the peony, which was a symbol of wealth. Probably, this Chinese poetry was written by the creator of this work, the sign was written at the end the poetry. It is believed that the creator was a samurai of Kaga domain and had a culture of writing Chinese poetry.

Of the eight sides of the sake-bottle, the two sides are drawn with the peony and other two sides are written with the Chinese poetry, so each side is composed back to back. Another two sides with only the pattern between the peony and the Chinese poetry is also back to back. This is a well-thought-out composition to make each stand out by dividing them into three parts: peony, Chinese poetry, and patterns.

The back name is not written in the foot, but is written as “彩雲楼Saiunro 旭山Kyokuzan” at the end of the Chinese poetry.

creator of the work

Toda Tokuji  任田 徳次  born in 1817, died in 1877

Toda was born as a child of Toda Tokuemon (1792 to 1873), who was a porcelain painter of the Kasugayama kiln. His father studied the painting under Aoki Mokubei (青木木米), and after Aoki returned to Kyoto, he began his career in porcelain painting in Kanazawa. Some of his works were in the style of gosu aka-e, and some were in the style of Hachiro de, which expressed extremely detailed patterns.

Toda Tokuji learned porcelain painting from his father and was thought to be strongly influenced by his father’s style of painting. He painted for the Minzan kiln. After the Minzan kiln was abandoned, he worked as a leader with Utsumi Kichizo (内海吉造) in the kiln built at Kasugayama by Kaga domain in 1867.

When the clan kiln was closed in the Meiji period, he took over the kiln and self-employed, and continued to operate until around 1882. During that time, in 1869, he was temporarily the main craftsman for the Abe Bikai Kiln, and it is known that he went to Tokyo to create porcelain.

His works included aka-e with fine drawing, copied aka-e, and blue and white (for daily goods). In his later works, we can see works with the patterns in the panels which were painted in various colors, and the area around the panels was colored in red.

His son-in-law, Suwa Sozan (諏訪蘇山), and Haruna Shigeharu (春名繫春) were among his disciples.