Cake Dish


Cake Dish


Japanese, 1934–1995




Michiaki Kaneshige was the son of Toyo Kaneshige (1896-1967), who is credited with the revival of traditional Bizen ceramic techniques. Named for the province formerly known as Bizen, this ware garners its red-orange hues from the high iron content of the local clays. Typically unglazed, Bizen pots are fired slowly in kilns fueled with pinewood and typically reflect the rough, rural practicality of the region.

Scaled for serving small sweets at a tea ceremony or similar event, the dish subtly plays with a motif of three circles. The triangle of circles in the base of the dish offers an aesthetic response to the practical problem of how to stack pieces efficiently in the kiln for firing. The circles of bare clay are marks left by wads of higher-firing clay on which another pot or pots were placed to maximize space in the kiln without the pieces sticking together. As the firing progressed this wadding melted into low flat circles under the weight of the pots they supported. The artist juxtaposed these three circles with the finger holes, arranged in a pattern of 1-2-3, that decorate the wall of the dish.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University




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Imbe (Bizen) stoneware; Height: 2-3/4 in. (7 cm), diameter: 8 in. (20.3 cm)