Momogusa embodies the tradition of Japanese earthenware potter in Zen Buddhist philosophy and aesthetic of wabi-sabi. Momogusa takes its name from the Japanese word meaning pine tree, a symbol of longevity in Japan. The nomenclature references a rustic world of long-lasting bond through its objects.
Established in a hundred-year-old farm house in the Gifu Prefecture north of Kyoto, Momogusa aims to unearth traditional Japanese pottery and reconnect it to contemporary life and society. The earthenware revitalizes the aesthetics of wabi-sabi in its natural simplicity and understated elegance.
Momogusa retains sensitivity to ephemera. The vessels and objects are intentionally imperfect in their shape and glaze— transforming overtime with use. Crafted within the concept of “daily life,” Momogusa critiques of consumption. Instead, Momogusa argues for a recognition of beauty in the most basic and natural, everyday objects.
Wabi-sabi is best defined by its in ineffability. While wabi connotes rusticity and simplicity, sabi conveys patina and impermanence. Together wabi-sabi characterizes the tradition of Japanese beauty and aestheticism.
The materiality of wabi-sabi is epitomized in Japanese traditional pottery. Humbly crafted in hand-shaped forms, the pottery incorporates irregularities and imperfections. Its value is borne of asymmetry, simplicity, modesty, and utility. The lead-glazed earthenware is most noticeably used in Japanese traditional tea ceremonies, called chadō, or way of tea.
Junchiro Tanizaki (1886-1965) is one of the leading novelists in Japanese literature, renowned for his book Naomi. Set in modernizing Tokyo during the Taisho era (1912-1926), Naomi juxtaposes concepts of Japanese tradition and the West, which has come to define the author's style. Naomi is iconic in Japanese literature for its archetype of the femme fatale character, analogous to Westernization
In 1933 Tanizaki wrote the essay In Praise of Shadows on Japanese aesthetics. Similar to the author’s prose, the essay contrasts conventions of beauty in Japan to the West. Bestowing value to shadow’s subtlety, Tanizaki subsumes the qualities of sabi in the work. He admires the quality of patina, reflecting the natural order of impermanence. In Praise of Shadows prevails in its relevance to understanding the nature of beauty in modernity.