Browse Items (70 total)

  • Collection: Forging Alliances

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The second son of Shoji Hamada, Shinsaku followed his father’s profession, using the same materials and tools. He attended Waseda University in Tokyo, one of Japan’s elite universities, studying industrial arts to prepare for a career as a…

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Naoko Matsubara, the daughter of a Shinto priest, followed an international career path. Having studied at the Kyoto Academy of Fine Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Royal College of Art in London, she traveled Europe and Asia for two years.…

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While in Japan, Beittel focused his study on the mingei (folk art) movement, which valued the work of individual craftsmen making functional objects representative of the region where they were produced. Beittel’s work shared these values. This…

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Penn State potter Kenneth Beittel, who acquired this vase in Japan in 1967, included it among the “Great Pots I Have Known” in his book Zen and the Art of Pottery. There he describes Shimakoka’s pots as “sturdy, quiet, even comfortable…

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This vase is made in a two-part open mold where each side is pressed individually; the two halves are then joined along the corners. The square-bodied form is based on Chinese Song dynasty flower vases adapted for used as a mizusashi, the water…

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Hagi ceramics are typically formed on a kickwheel from porous clays and finished with colored slips (liquified clay) and glazes. Hagi ware is finished through the firing process in a noborigama, or multi-chambered climbing kiln. The porousness of…

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Although the term Hagi ware derives from the town of Hagi in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture, its beginnings can be traced to the techniques and traditions of Korean pottery. After Japan invaded Korea in the late 16th century, Korean potters were…

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This sturdy sake vessel, made from the rich, brown clay native to the Naeshirogawa area, combines function with aesthetic and cultural values. The deep, black glaze was likely applied by turning the container upside down and dipping it directly into…

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Seimei Tsuji‘s father was an antique collector, and it is said that Tsuji could tell a good antique from a bad one at the age of 5. Tsuji started working on a hand-turned potter’s wheel, called a te-rokuro, when he was 10 years old. At 13 he…

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In 1955 Tsuji built one of the first modern noborigama kilns, a multi-chamber climbing oven that allows pieces to be fired at different temperatures depending on where they are placed. In Tsuji’s wood-firing technique, ash from the wood swirls…
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