Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I may have mentioned that I consider the circle/square/triangle design used by the Zen calligraphers to be the Zen equivalent of a physics formula in which it represent the universe. The simplicity and the variety in which it can be manifest in 2-D and 3-D are seemingly infinite. Among my favorite is the version popularized by Gibon Sengai. His version was seen and ingested by Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline and many others of the abstract expressionist movement.

The use of this visual also pops up on traditional and modern pottery. This Nezumi-Shino chawan has the circle/square/triangle carved through a rich iron slip and then glazed over in a wonderful feldspatic Shino glaze. The illustrated chawan is by Mino veteran potter Mizuno Takuzo. I am particularly fond of this style of Shino glaze and the development of thick glaze cells moving in a diagonal indicating the direction the bowl was thrown. Overall, a very sober and engaging bowl with a design that brings the viewer around the bowl and into its interior.

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