Preparing Tea by a Mountain Gorge

Aoki Mokubei Japanese

Not on view

The preparation or drinking of sencha (Chinese-style steeped tea) was a frequent subject of Chinese literati painters. Here Aoki Mokubei depicted a man and his servant in a mountain setting preparing sencha tea over a ceramic stove. The division of the composition into two distinct areas, as though painted on opposite sides of a large bowl, reminds us that the artist learned to paint while working primarily as a potter.

Mokubei also established himself as a painter in the Nanga (Literati school) style. He grew up in the Gion district of Kyoto, where his family owned a restaurant and brothel. Mokubei began making pottery under the guidance of Okuda Eisen (1753–1811), and he was soon celebrated for his copies of Chinese ceramics. Together with Eisen and Nin’ami Dōhachi (1783–1855), he is credited with reviving the ceramics traditions of Kyoto.

Preparing Tea by a Mountain Gorge, Aoki Mokubei (Japanese, 1767–1833), Folding fan mounted as a hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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