Wednesday, September 19, 2012


It is not like there aren't a myriad of attributes that make Shigaraki pottery  a fascinating and  endless wonder. As I look into various chawan there is another characteristic that can be seen; using light on the interior looking on the outside or on the outside looking at the interior, areas where there is lots of melted feldspar shine like stars in a night sky, a Shigaraki constellation. The see-through feldspar inclusions dot the landscape of true Shigaraki clay making for windows of translucent light to occur under the right conditions. The walls need to be just the right thickness for these apparitions to appear, a very "yugen" experience. As the bowl is fired, the coarse feldspar inclusions in the clay become molten, some boil up through the surface leaving the tell-tale characteristics of Shigaraki-yaki as tombo-no-me, other just melt in place becoming opaque gems that convey light. It is like Blake's allusion in Augeries of Innocence, except you can glimpse a ko-ucho (small universe) on the interior of a chawan.
Illustrated is a startling view from inside a Shigaraki chawan with a light source outside the wall of the bowl. It really does appear like a small and concise universe trapped inside the chawan.
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science." Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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