Aoki Mokubei (青木木米)

Mokubei AOKI (1767- July 2, 1833) was a painter and Kyo ware potter during the Edo Period. He was born in Kyoto. His childhood name was Yasoya. His Azana (alias) was Sahei. His pseudonyms included Seibei, Hyakurokusanjin, Kokikan, Teiunro, Kukurin, and Shubei.

Mokubei was born in 1767, in Kyoto. He studied calligraphy under Fuyo KO at a young age, showing great talent; however, when he found pottery, he opened a studio in Awataguchi, Kyoto at the age of 30 and won fame for his pottery. Five years later, he was invited by the Maeda Family of the Kaga clan, and he made efforts to revive Kaga Kutani ware. As a potter, he mainly produced green-tea sets. His pottery work is varied, including white porcelain, celadon, Akae ware (ceramic with red paintings) and dyed ceramics. As a result of his commitment to Chinese ceramics, he created a world of his own in making copies of Chinese ware. There are also many outstanding works of literati painting. He died in 1833. He was 67 years old.

Mokubei is known to be one of the three masters of Kyo ware of the late shogunate period along with Hozen EIRAKU and Dohachi NINNAMI.

Mokubei was able to judge the temperature of the kiln by the crackling sound of the fire.

Though Mokubei's ears were always red and swollen, he refused to change his method. He continued working without allowing time for his ears to heal; consequently, he lost his hearing at later in life. Thereafter, he called himself Robei (Ro=deaf) instead of Mokubei.

Sanyo RAI
Kenkado KIMURA
His Representative Works
Uji Choton-zu (Morning view of the Uji River) (Tokyo National Museum and private collection, Important Cultural Property)
Toryu-zu (picture of a dragon) (Private collection, Important Cultural Property)
Hyakushi-mon Hyokei-hei (bottle-gourd shaped bottle with pomegranate design) (Itsuo Art Museum)
Shibun Sencha-wan (tea bowl inscribed with poems) (Tokyo National Museum)
Ryuto-mon Uri-gata Suichu (gourd shaped ewer with dragon design) (Kyoto Prefectural Library and Archives)
Shibun Shiho Chatsubo (four-sided tea urn inscribed with poems) (Tokyo National Museum)
Nanako-mon Myowan (tea bowls) (Kyoto National Museum)
Murasaki Kochi-yu Araiso-mon Kyusu (purple teapot with swimming carp design) (Kyoto National Museum)
A set of tea utensils (Tokyo National Museum)
Hakudei Kimen-mon Ryoro (white stove with demon-face design) (Kyoto National Museum)
Sometsuke Ryuto-zu Sageju (dyed ceramic picnic set with dragon design) (Tokyo National Museum)
Kinrande Hyakusen-zu Rinka-hachi (flower shaped bowl with hermit design and gold decoration)
Mishimade Kyusu (teapot with Mishimade design) (Kyoto National Museum)