7590 Kiyomizu Rokuei VI (1901 – 1980)
A Kyoto-ware ceramic sculpture of Gyokuto (Moon Rabbit)
Impressed hexagonal seal Sei to the base
Japan, 20th century, Taisho/Showa period
Dimensions: H. 8.5cm x W. 16.5cm x D. 12.5cm (3½” x 6½” x 5”)
Tomobako (original box) inscribed:
Lid: Gyokuto okimono (decorative object of a moon rabbit), signed and sealed Sei
Kiyomizu Rokubei VI. Given name: Shotaro. Born in Kyoto he was the oldest son of Rokubei V (1875-1959). He was first taught Nihonga (Japanese style painting) by the masters in Kyoto such as Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942) and Yamamoto Shunkyo (1872-1933) at the Kyoto School of Painting. From 1925 he studied pottery under his father and started to exhibit his work at various exhibitions early in his career, winning the Tokusen (speciality prizes) at Nitten (The Japan Fine Art Exhibition) in 1931 and 1934. He took over the leadership of the Rokubei studio in 1945 and continued to be active in Kyoto art circles, founding the Kyoto Ceramic club in 1948. Rokubei VI was awarded the Nihon Geijutsuin-sho (Prize of Japan Art Academy) in 1956 and became a member of the Nihon Geijutsu-in (Japan Art Academy) in 1962. His work has a wide range of stylised designs mostly inspired by classic masterpieces while inventing new glazes and utilising his talent as a Nihonga painter.
The usagi (hare or rabbit) and the moon are often linked in East Asian folklore. Japanese legends describe the shadows on the surface of the moon as hares pounding mochi (sticky rice cakes) while an ancient Chinese Taoist tale tells of a hare that resides in the moon and pounds magic herbs in order to make the elixir of eternal life. In Japan the full moon and the hare have become associated with autumn, a time when the moon is deemed to shine brightest. The hare is also associated with the sea and high tides, another natural phenomena caused by the lunar cycle.