Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Illustrated is mizusashi made by Shigaraki pioneer, Kohyama Yasuhisa in 1973 (Showa 48). Every potter has a body of work that has a definite beginning, even ones who have gone beyond the strictest sense of function to work in the realm of "objects"*.  This particular subtly faceted mizusashi was made for a 1973 exhibit and is illustrated in the exhibition catalog. Having been the first potter to build an anagama in Shigaraki valley since the middle ages, Kohyama immediately began to focus in on Sueki style firing and showcasing the natural essence of the clay with colorful hi-iro effects. The form is thrown and manipulated to have a slight bend to the center and carved take on the ubiquitous bamboo form (take-gata) so popular in Japanese art.

Though made early on in his carrer, this pot shows many of the attributes Kohyama is so well known for. The pot allows the clay to speak with a flashed hi-iro and a dusting of ash on the rim and lid. The faceting, though very subtle, is a certain trademark of most of his works and the ability to create a form devoid of all but the essential elements is a feature that makes his works stand out from the crowd and invariable weather the storms of trend and time.

(* Objects are how Kohyama-san refers to his more sculptural works, from small to large)