Splendors of Shiga: Treasures from Japan – Exhibition Spotlight

Throughout the course of Splendors of Shiga: Treasures from Japan, we’ll be featuring some of our favorite works of art from the exhibition and providing a more in-depth look at some of our favorite pieces.

This week, we’re featuring three bowls from the collection:

Shigaraki Ware, Tea Bowl Asanikeni by Ueda Naokata

This tea bowl was made by Ueda Naokato who is a specialist in tea ceremony ceramics. A leading master of the famed Shigaraki pottery, he is the fifth generation of his family to work in this tradition and is revered as a Shiga Prefectural Intangible Asset or Treasure. The earthen colors, highly textured surfaces and slightly irregular form epitomize the Shigaraki tradition. This vessel was made on a hand-propelled wheel and in a wood-fired kiln. The fingerprints seen on the interior base of this bowl are intentional. Works by Naokato have also been commissioned for use in the teahouse in the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. This particular vessel will be on display over the entirety of the exhibition.

Shigaraki Ware, Tea Bowl Asanikeni
Ueda Naokata (born 1927)
Shōwa Period, 1964
Stoneware
Courtesy of Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park

Shigaraki Ware, Lozenge-styled vase with natural firing effect by Takahashi Shunsai

This vessel was made by Takahashi Shunsai, a specialist in ceramic vases and jars. Part of a family of potters, he is celebrated as a Shiga Prefectural Intangible Asset or Treasure. Although he initially follows traditional shapes, he has experimented with forms, firing techniques and natural glazes as a means of bringing the history of Shigaraki pottery into the modern age. The carefully marked glaze decoration on this vessel has not been painted, but results from the chemical reaction of wood ash across the surface of the clay and the controlled movement of air in the firing process. This particular vessel will be on display over the course of the exhibition.

Shigaraki Ware, Lozenge-styled vase with natural firing effect
Takahashi Shunsai (1927–2011)
Heisei Period, 1997
Stoneware
Courtesy of Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park

Large crazed celadon bowl by Shimizu Uichi

Born into a family of potters in Kyoto, Shimizu Uichi was declared a Living National Treasure by the Japanese Government over the course of his extensive career.  He established a studio on the shores of Lake Biwa near the Shiga Prefectural Capital of Otsu in the 1970s. He is known for using clay from the site, which contains many fossils and shells, and for experimenting with iron glazing. The color, translucent quality and overall crackling effect epitomize his most celebrated works. Such crackling effects result from a carefully controlled cooling process for which the artist is most well known. This work of art will also be on display over the entire course of the exhibition.

Large crazed celadon bowl
Shimizu Uichi (1926–2004)
Shōwa Period, 1975
Stoneware with overglaze
Courtesy of Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park

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