Otagaki Rengetsu lived a life packed with struggles. Both pottery and poetry helped her to find the balance between focus and distraction.
Look at this humble water container and you look at one of the many faces of Otagaki Rengetsu. A woman, a nun, and an artist, who found her way in a life that had many difficulties to offer, many hardships to face and many reasons to engage in art. Her legacies are words, and clay – what she left to all of us are poetry and pottery. When you look at this container for fresh water - Mizusashi - you sense both faded melancholy and rising hope. This artifact invites your eyes to travel over it, welcomes your hands to hold it, and lets your thoughts float.
Turned away at the inn
I take this unkindness as grace...
beneath the hazy moon
and evening blossoms.
Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875)
Fresh water container, Mizusashi
H: 14.4 cm (5 ½ in.)
Diam. 12.8 cm (5 in.)
Old wooden box