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Asian art

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Small tea bowl with design of landscape and poem

18th century


Kenzan Ogata


1663 - 1743


Born as the third son of a family of wealthy merchants, and younger brother of Ogata Kôrin, the famous painter/designer, Kenzan studied ceramics under Nonomiya Ninsei, arguably the most respected potter in Japan. Kenzan, however, did not follow or imitate Ninsei but created an original style often working together with his brother Kôrin in what came to be called the Rinpa style. While Ninsei exploited the three-dimensional surface of the ceramic piece in decorating his work, Kenzan treated the whole shape as a single pictorial space - incorporating the interior and exterior of a bowl.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2003.

The inscription on this tea bowl is from a larger poem by the Song poet Dai Fugu. It reads:

The immense joy of a tranquil dwelling
Drives away the regrets of [one who dons] a scholar's cap

Dai Fugu (1167-?), cognomen Shizhi and sobriquet Shiping, is a poet of the Southern Song dynasty. Born in Huangyan, present-day Zhejiang Province, Dai is a celebrated member of the Jianghu school of poets, and he is said to have spent over twenty years travelling and visiting famous scenic spots. His works is collected in the ‘Shiping shi ji’ and the ‘Shiping ci’.

The poem below (from which the couplet comes) collected in the ‘Shiping shi ji’, is one of Dai's ‘Shanzhong jimu er shou’. This is a ‘wuyan lushi ‘or Five-character Eight-line Regulated Poem.

Cluster of five [or] seven thatched huts
Sandy shore [with] eight [or] nine boulders

Terraced hill [with] beds of luxuriant wheat
Bulging rocks hasten the flow of the stream

Gathering of elders after sacrificial rites to the Earth god
Children playing [around the] pear and chestnut [trees]

The immense joy of a tranquil dwelling
Drives away the regrets of [one who dons] a scholar's cap

(trans. Dr Lim Chye Hong, April 2012)


Other Title

Small black tea cup with landscape design

Place where the work was made



18th century

Media category


Materials used

stoneware with iron underglaze


5.8 x 7.2 cm

Signature & date

Signed on side after inscription, in Japanese, iron underglaze, '[Kenzan shô]' and kaô (kakihan) '[ji]'.


Purchased 2003


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Kenzan Ogata

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Public Programmes Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales and The Japan Foundation (Editors), Art speaks Japanese: Japanese language education kit from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2007, colour illus.. card no. 07

Kenzan no tôgei [Ceramics of Kenzan (1663-1743)], Tokyo, 1987, 97 (colour illus.). colour reproduction no.134