The Oedo Antiques Market is a jewel. While it lacks the charm of being on the grounds of a temple or shrine, it makes up for it by being held in the shady courtyard of the Tokyo International Forum at the convenient junction point of Hibiya, Marounouchi and Yurakacho. While it tends to be higher along the antiques food chain and thus higher priced than a conventional shrine sale, it makes up for it by having some of the best quality merchandise to be found. Held on the first and third Sundays of the month, and the fifth Sunday is there is one (like there will be this October), it is one of the most pleasant antiquing experiences to be had in Tokyo.
Luckily for me, Peri Wolfman of Wolfman-Gold & Good fame was in town visiting her niece, my friend D. For more on Peri, see my previous post. This past Sunday I took them to shop the Oedo market and we all had a wonderful time and bought lots of goodies. The entire day was colored by Peri’s aura, meaning it was black and white. We looked at and bought nothing frou-frou or fancy. No blue and white porcelain, nothing gilded. Everything was simple, streamlined, functional and lovely because of it. I did mean to take so many more photos chronicling the day. Photos of what we looked at, what we liked, you name it. But sometimes you have to live just to live, not live to blog, and Sunday was such a day. I was too engaged to even remember to pull out my camera half the time, so I can only show you a record of what we actually bought.
First up were these bowls by ceramicist Ando Masanobu. As I am not familiar with his work, I did a little research and found this description in the online edition of Kateigaho magazine (which you should be reading if you are at all interested in Japanese arts and culture). “Perhaps the most fitting description of his pottery, reflecting a balance of sensibility and philosophy, is the word refinement. The striking forms of his solid white or black semi-matte vessels bear minimal ornamentation.” No way to say it better than that. I do wonder how these bowls ended up down in Tokyo, but the karma was perfect because they were meant for Peri. As a pair, they also display one of her golden rules, which is never buy “onesies”. Multiples are king!
Ando also runs a gallery called Momogusa in an old minka (farmhouse) that he moved to in Tajimi and rebuilt. Besides his own work he exhibits ceramics, glass, washi, textiles, and so on by other artists. Looks like it is worth a visit!
These were quintessential Peri – a group of Edo period pottery stacking bowls – albeit the largest one was the size of a golf ball. Scale is hard to show in this kind of close-up but consider the grain of the matting underneath and it gives you a sense of their tiny-ness. Peri is currently developing a line of tableware for Restoration Hardware – the reason for her visit – and stacking items are definitely a part of it.
We almost overlooked the military dealer – you know the one who has all the Japanese army uniforms and sometimes other creepy stuff – there is always one like that at every market. Luckily these caught our eye and we stopped. These are old mess hall dishes made of white ironstone from the days before plastic. The small deep bowl is meant for tea.
And of course it wouldn’t be Peri without some white ironstone pitchers. These look French, but the marks are actually Japanese. Wonderful shapes! And shown perched on one of a pair of rustic children’s chairs bought too.
We both got amazing little black and white woodblock prints. One for her…
…and one for me.
These metal clip on sconces may not look like much here, but let me tell you they are dynamite! Painted green metal with wonderful patina and best of all, they don’t require any holes drilled to hang them (which is a big issue in Japanese rentals, let me tell you). Just clip ’em where you want ’em.
Imagine them like these in this dreamy Jill Brinson designed bedroom.
Simple bargain frames made of sakura (cherry) and bamboo came home with us too. Peri thought the speckled paper under the glass of the rectangular one was so pretty it could be used as a tray instead.
Peri is all about storage (just peek back at that Oprah magazine article) and both D and I got some of these charming vintage apothecary drawers to stack on my desk and in her entryway.
What a great day! Peri looking fabulous in her usual black and white while I look as goofy and over excited in this photo as I felt.
Oh, and last but not least, I need to report that the marble-topped pastry table in Peri’s earlier kitchens was sold along with the house…