Friday, September 2, 2011


A friend of mine recently sent me a picture of his wonderful Tsukigata Nahiko enso tile. Besides being an astute collector, he is very keen on the work of Tsukigata and holds him in the highest regard among modern Mino tradition potters. The illustrated ceramic tile was fired in a wood kiln and it shows all of the characteristics of why Tsukigata is so highly regarded as a renaissance artist of the 20th century. This tile measures approximately 8” x 8” and is mounted in a wood frame that bares all the characteristics of having been made by a carpenter that specializes in tansu. This enso appears to have been created “in the moment”, a spontaneous extension of all of the artist’s experience and creativity. Though it is minimalist in its execution, it is infinite in its impact and statement.

Tsukigata created a number of these ceramic tiles, most of which showcased his very idiosyncratic calligraphy (shoga) style. Besides the enso (円相), there are examples with kanji for hana (flower), shin (heart), yume (dream), wa (peace) and others. There are also a number of his chawan that bare the same technique with bold kanji as decoration that date from about 1970 to 1990.

(Illustration used with the kind permission of a collector)