Asai Ichimo, red and gold tea set with Chinese towers and landscape

A tea set for sencha (tea leaves) consists of teapot, cooler for hot water, and tea cups (a number of teacups were originally five). Asai gained a high reputation for his delicate Chinese-style painting style with the motif from “manuscripts of patterns carved on Chinese inkstick”.

size ; teapot diameter about 11.4 cm, height about 7.1 cm  coolerl diameter about 11.8 cm, height about 4.6 cm  tea cup diameter about 9 cm, height about 5.7 cm

On the teapot, Chinese-style towers and palaces are drawn in red and gold in three panels, and the spout, handle, and lid are each decorated with gold. Along with the painting style, the fineness by Asai on the body can be seem.

Like the teapot, the thin cooler for hot water and cups for sencha also have Chinese-style buildings. Decoration of Chrysanthemum flower emblem is on the side of the cooler. This emblem seems to represent that Asai created this tea set for the emperor and the imperial family.

The back name is not on teapot, but on the cooler “九谷kutani / 一毫Ichimo”, and on the sencha cup “九谷kutani / made by 相鮮亭Sosentei”. 相鮮亭 is another store name for Asai Ichimo.

creator of the work

Asai Ichimo 浅井一毫  born in 1836, and died in 1916

It is said that Asai learned fine red painting from Iidaya Hachirouemon (飯田屋八郎右衛門founder of 八郎手Hachiro-de style) at Miyamoto-ya kiln at the age of 14 in 1851. Then, he painted on porcelain in red, using “manuscripts of patterns carved on Chinese inkstick” gifted from Iidaya. At the end of the Edo period, Asai worked on the improvement of kutani under Eiraku Wazen (永楽和全) who was invited from Kyoto and stayed in Enuma county.

In this way, Asai became to be called a master of red fine painting. A proof of the high fame of Asai was that he received some orders of painting from the Abe Oumi Kiln (阿部碧海窯) in Kanazawa. The kiln was a painting factory that built the foundation of Kanazawa kutani, which became synonymous with excellent products. Asai gained fame as a leading fine painter so much that he received the orders from Abe Oumi Kiln like the master craftsmen of Kutani Shoza (九谷庄三), Matsumoto Sahei (松本佐平) etc.