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These bowls were made at the Tōsai-gama kiln of the Nagato family, in the Tobe-ware region of Ehime.
Low and quite wide, they would be suitable as small serving bowls, or for a quite large bowl of soup. The pattern work shows re-workings of classic motifs in the Tobe-ware.
A region of around 100 kilns in Ehime, on the island of Shikoku, Tobe-ware is one of Japan’s lineages in blue and white ceramics. Its characteristic is for typically small family run kilns, practicing variations of the ‘sometsuke’ style of blue pigment designs on pale surfaces. From their ‘ko-tobe’ (old Tobe) series, these bowls reference patterns handed down in Tobe-ware within the centuries of its existence.
Tōsai-gama, place the designs in a new context of form and material however, with a thin-sided modern rendition of the porcelain for which the region is known. Styles and ideas meet in the work that they make, and it is pleasing to use. As the pieces are hand painted and handmade there may be some differences between them.