This small jug or vase is about 4" high x 5" diameter. It came with the signed tomobako wooden box. This is an original piece made by Hisatoshi Iwata. It is a deep purple/blue color with white and yellow accents. There is a cloth to wrap the jug in and a long ribbon which feeds through holes in the base to tie the box shut. There is a printed label attached under the lid.
Hisatoshi Iwata 1925-1994 was born in Tokyo, the eldest son of Toshichi Iwata, the father of modern Japanese art glass. Iwata studied at the Tokyo Bijutsu school in the design department. He graduated from the prestigious Tokyo School of Fine Arts in 1950. He was selected for Nitten (Japanese Fine Arts Exhibition) for the first time in 1949 and continued to exhibit there afterward. He inherited Iwata Industrial Art Glass which his father founded in 1953. Iwata established the Japan glass industrial arts society in 1972 and was its chairperson afterward for five years. He was a founding member of the Shiseido-sponsored Exhibition of Modern Industrial Arts (1975–95), submitting works for display eighteen times up until 1993. His work was added to the permanent of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art 20th century Design and Architecture section in 1986. His work is also part of the collection of the Corning Glass Museum.
Narumi/Sanyu Fantasy Glass vase, 9.5" x 5",
4 lbs 7 ounces, 1980s
The maker of this vase was
difficult to identify since it was not labeled and
exhibits characteristics of both Czech
(Skrdlovice/Chribska) and Swedish (Aseda) vases. By
chance, I found a labeled example from a long ended
Japanese auction, of which a single image survived. It was
enough to identify this vase, though. The bottom is
concave and the edges are ground flat.
Hineri/Iwatsu yellow bowl, 8.5" wide x 5" high, 7.5 lbs, ca
This bowl is hand blown and the
bottom is ground flat. Iwatsu was one of the largest glass
makers in Japan before closing in the 1990s. They also made
art glass under the Hineri and Art Glass labels. This bowl is
very thick and has large "ribs". The original label survives.
Kurata Craft Glass vase, 10.5" high x 7" wide, 7lbs, ca 1970s
Kurata Craft Glass is produced by the Joetsu Crystal Glass Company (JCGC) of the Joetsu region of Japan. Kurata is name of the family that owns the company and also the name of the line of glass this piece belongs to. JCGC is still in existence and still run by the Kurata family. This vase is part of a two piece set which I found in the original box 1970s era box in Japan, and is probably NOS, never displayed. These pieces were made using centrifugal molds. Molten glass was poured into the molds and they were then swung by the artisan to achieve the desired shape and dimensions.
This set is a bit rare as an ash tray typically accompanied this vase as opposed to the handled bowl that was included.
Note the misspelling of the Joetsu name on the box.
During the 1970s-1980s Joetsu was
contracted by the American company Mikasa to make
several types of glass from pressed glass to pieces of
art glass like this one under the Kurata name. Joetsu
continued to maintain the quality of their art glass
even though it was made in greater quantities. This bowl
is fairly rare and was probably not produced in very
This bowl has a small depression (bowl) in the center and a ground pontil mark on the bottom.
Narumi by Sanyu bowl, 6.5" high x 8" wide top x 3"
bottom, 6lbs, 1970s?
This bowl was part of the Sanyu
"Fantasy Glass" line by the glass maker Narumi. This
is another example of new old stock glass (NOS) that
I found in the original box in Georgia, USA! Most
Fantasy Glass was composed of panels of solid
colors, which, when viewed through the piece,
combined to make new colors. This amber bowl is not
a great example of Fantasy Glass but it is very
large and the fact that it came in the original box
with all labels and packing material intact made it
desirable. The bottom is somewhat crudely ground
flat. Narumi, today, mostly makes crystal home
wares, not art glass.
Sasaki Glass was founded about
1890 by Sojiro Sasaki in Kanda, Tokyo. Sasaki originally
produced oil lamps for domestic use. They soon started
exporting lamps to Hawaii, China and Southeast Asia. With the
decline in use of oil lamps, Sasaki moved production to other
types of glassware. In 2002 Sasaki merged with Toyo Glass
Company and became Toyo-Sasaki Glass, producing crystal and
other glassware. Toyo-Sasaki is still in business and also
sells glass from other countries (Lithuania, Hungary, etc.)
under the Sasaki label.
A swung vase by Joetsu Glass under their
Kurata Craft Glass label. The base layer of this vase is red
and it is overlaid with such a thin layer of white glass
that the result looks pink. The bottom is ground flat and
polished. This is not an extremely common shape for Kurata,
but it is not rare either.
Hokuyo (?) Glass Company, 9" x 7", aventurine vase, 1980s
Hokuyo Glass Company was
established in Aomori, Japan 1949, and initially produced
"Ukidama", glass- fishing floats. That remains what they are
best known for, but in the 1960s they started producing art
glass. I am told by my mentor that Hokuyo produced vases in
this shape, a common shape for Japanese glass makers, and
produced aventurine glass in the 1980s. Their glass is often
seen under the Kamei label. Kamei was a distributor of glass
made by other companies. Hokuyo is still in business but is
today known for making Tsugaru Vidro (Tsugaru Regional
Glassware) which is a tradition in the region. They mostly
make kitchenware and are a subsidiary of Ishizuka Glass Co.
I just got lucky on this one as it
is not labeled and I bought it when I was very early in my
learning about Japanese art glass. It seemed to have all of
the components of pre-2000 Japanese art glass and was not too
much money so I bought it. A knowledgeable collector
identified it as likely made by Hokuyo.
Kurata Craft Glass vase, 6.75" high x 4" wide, 8 lbs, 1960s-70s
This is the vase that attracted my attention
to Japanese art Glass. It was made by the Joetsu Glass
Company under their Kurata Craft Glass label. It is very
heavy and an extremely high quality piece of glass. The
colors are earth tones, brown and green with a hint of blue.
I had never seen anything like it and I have been collecting
art glass for about 25 years.. It has partial label but I
was unfamiliar with the maker and had to seek help from my
compatriots at Collector's Weekly to determine who made it.
A similar vase had been posted on this site a few years
previously. This is an amazing piece of art glass and I was
immediately hooked. This type of Japanese glass from Kurata
and other Japanese makers is often confused with Czech glass
made by Chribska and Skrdlovice or Murano.
It has thick ribs, a ground bottom and is very
Generic "multi-layer" Japanese Art Glass, 5.5" x 4", pre-2000s
This vase is fairly typical of
mass produced Japanese art glass produced for export from the
1960s to 2000. it was typically quickly made and of lower
quality than craft glass produced by the Japanese glass houses
under their own labels. Many small glass houses produced this
kind of hand made glass and it was imported into several
countries under various labels, i.e., Lefton, Kamei, etc. If
was often just labeled like this piece "Made in Japan". It is
still very often nice glass, just less refined. This piece,
for instance, though made of four layers of glass, has some
sharp edges and could have been more nicely finished but is
still a fairly complex piece.
Kurata for Miskasa, 6.6" x 4", cased glass with metal flakes,
This is another example of art glass made by Joetsu Glass under their Kurata label for Mikasa, an American company. Joestu made art glass for Miskasa for about two decades in the 1970s and 1980s before Mikasa found suppliers in other countries. Some was labeled and some was not. The majority was pressed glass with some art glass like this. This is blown glass with three layers, white, red and clear glass. Flecks of silver were included in the red layer. The bottom was hot worked to remove the pontil and then ground. Before labeled examples were found, it was thought to be Bohemian glass by some collectors. Several different shapes and colors, including blue and black, were made in this series.
This is an odd color combination for Kurata
and, though it is a shape used by Kurata, it might not have
been attributed to them if it had not borne the Kurata Craft
Glass label. Kurata has made many free hand pieces in many
styles and colors and it is likely that many pieces which
have lost their labels may never be properly attributed as a
Here is a vase by Iwatsu under their ArtGlass label. It almost looks like onyx, instead of glass. Something I have noticed with the ArtGlass line was that Iwatsu seemed to be using the glass to mimic other materials.
Fukuoka handkerchief style vase, 7.5" long x 11" high x 5"
wide, circa 1940s-1960s.
Fukuoka Art Glass Company's
work is fairly uncommon in the U.S. and what is seen here are
mostly pitcher and drinking glass sets in a red or yellow and
white swirl pattern. Founded in the 1940s, Fukuoka was renamed
"MultiGlass" in the early 1970s, so pieces labeled "FTG" were
made circa 1940s-1960s. MultiGlass is still in business.