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Ceramics of the Past and of the Future: The Timelessness of Traditional Japanese Craft Arts

2022.12.17(Sat) - 2023.01.23(Mon)


Ceramic art in Japan, through its long history of development in this country, has been considerably enriched and diversified in techniques and expressions through time. The post-World-War period, in particular, saw many creative ceramicists to flourish with their ambitious and exploratory works.
This exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Japan Kōgei Association’s Ceramic Art Section, showcasing its achievements and elaborations from these productive years. With a total of 137 artists to be presented, this will be a rare opportunity to appreciate, through a comprehensive curation, a variety of ceramic artworks that represent the art’s pathways from the past into the future, sampling masterpieces of prominent ‘Living National Treasures’ from different eras, inspiring works by pioneering ceramicists who cast influential light on the history of Japanese ceramic art, and the latest work of modern artists.


Part I: Establishment of ceramic art in Japan


Works from the eary period of the Japan Kōgei Association’s existence is represented by the excellent work of some ceramicists who expressed the essence of ceramic aesthetics rooted in Japan.
(19 items by 19 artists, including Kaneshige TōYō, Kamoda Shōji, Fujimoto Yoshimichi, Matsui Kōsei, and Miwa Kyūwa)

松井康成 練上嘯裂文大壺

Large Neriage (Marbled) Jar with Layered Pattern 1979, Matsui Kōsei
Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum

【Traditional and Artistic Ceramics】

The Nitten (Japanese Fine Arts Exhibition) is another arm of Japanese art community. Some exemplary works present its distinct stream of tradition.
(3 items by 3 artists, namely, Itaya Hazan, Kiyomizu Rokubei VI, and Kusube Yaichi)

板谷波山 葆光彩磁和合文様花瓶

Vase with Auspicious Motifs in Hokōsaiji (opaque glaze) c.1914-19, Itaya Hazan
MOA Museum of Art

【Significance of the presence of Living National Treasures (Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan)】

Masterpieces of four ceramicists are presented, who were designated, in 1955, Japan’s first Living National Treasures in the category of ceramic art.
(5 items by 4 artists, namely, Arakawa Toyozō, Ishiguro Munemaro, Tomimoto Kenkichi, and Hamada Shōji)

石黒宗麿 彩瓷柿文壺

Jar with Persimmon Design in Overglaze Enamels 1959, Ishiguro Munemaro
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

富本憲吉 色絵金銀彩四弁花染付風景文字模様壺

Jar with Landscapes and Characters Design in Underglaze Blue and Four-petaled Floral Motif in Overglaze Enamels, Gold, and Silver 1957, Tomimoto Kenkichi
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Part II: Expert techniques and aesthetic quality

This part showcases the diversification of expressions through the elaboration of techniques and pursuit of beauty.
(33 items by 33 artists, including Inoue Manji, Imaizumi Imaemon XIII, Nakajima Hiroshi, and Yoshita Minori)

𠮷田美統 釉裏金彩牡丹文飾皿

Ornamental Dish, Peony Motif, Underglaze Gold 2017, Yoshida Minori
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

【Expressions and their local roots】

Different kilns embody their unique styles that closely reflect their local cultures.
(6 items by 6 artists, namely, Isesaki Jun, Ichino Masahiko, Itō Sekisui V, Tokuda Yasokichi III, Fukushima Zenzō, and Miwa Jusetsu)

伊勢﨑淳 備前黒角皿

Square Dish, Black Bizen Ware 2005, Isesaki Jun
The National Muserum of Modern Art, Tokyo

五代 伊藤赤水 無名異練上鉢

Neriage (Marbled) Bowl, Mumyōi Ware 1985, Itō Sekisui V
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

福島善三 中野月白瓷鉢

Nakano Moon-white Bowl, Fukushima Zenzō
Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum

Chanoyu (Japanese tea culture) in tea bowls】

Tea bowls are an irreplaceable element of Japanese ceramic art, the essential implement of chanoyu through which the depth of Japanese culture may be understood.
(6 items by 5 artists, namely, Kato Kōzō, Suzuki Osamu, Tokusawa Moritoshi, Hatano Zenzō, and Raku Jikinyū)

鈴木藏 志野茶碗

Tea Bowl, Shino Ware 2019, Suzuki Osamu

樂直入 焼貫黒樂茶碗 銘 遠遊

Black Raku, Tea Bowl, named “Enyū”, Yakinuki Type 2012, Raku Jikinyū
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Part III: Japanese ceramic art into the future

Modern ceramicists demonstrate their successful prowess to take traditional skills and techniques to the new height through their contemporary aesthetic sensitivity.
(57 items by 57 artists, including Idogawa Yutaka, Imaizumi Imaemon XIV, Suzuki Tetsu, and Maeda Akihiro)

十四代 今泉今右衛門 色絵雪花薄墨墨はじき萩文鉢

Bowl with Bush Clover Design in Overglaze Enamels, Sekka, Usuzumi, and Sumi-hajiki 2019, Imaizumi Imaemon XIV

前田昭博 白瓷壺

White Porcelain Jar 2012, Maeda Akihiro
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

十三代 三輪休雪 エル キャピタン

El Capitan 2021, Miwa Kyūsetsu

津金日人夢 青瓷平壺―水天彷彿―

Flat Jar, Celadon, named A Vivid Reminder of Water and Sky 2021, Tsugane Hitomu

【Materials and expressions】

Pioneering work introduces new materials into the art, enhanced by the artists’ creativity invested in their unique techniques.
(3 items by 3 artists, namely, Ishibashi Yūshi, Kakurezaki Ryūichi, and Shinnō Iwao)

隠﨑隆一 備前広口花器

Wide-mouthed Vase, Bizen Ware 2012, Kakurezaki Ryūichi
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

神農巌 青磁堆磁線文鉢

Celadon Bowl with Raised Porcelain Linear Design 2011, Shinnō Iwao

【New techniques give shape to the future】

Some artists project the modern world onto their work and open new possibilities for Japanese ceramic art to thrive in the future.
(7 items by 7 artists, namely, Isezaki Kōichirō, Shibuya Eiichi, Nakada Hiroshi, Niisato Akio, Mitsuke Masayasu, Murofushi Eiji, and Wada Akira)

新里明士 光器 2021

Luminescent Vessel 2021, Niisato Akio

和田的 白器 ダイ/台

White Porcelain Vessel, named Dai / dai, Wada Akira
Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum


TITLE Ceramics of the Past and of the Future+ The Timelessness of Traditional Japaneese Craft Arts
EVENT PERIOD From Sat. December 17, 2022 to Mon. January 23, 2023
VENUE MOA Museum of Art
ORGANIZERS MOA Museum of Art, the Japan Kôgei Association, and the NHK Enterprises Nagoya Branch