Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Illustrated is a large charger painted by Iwao Akiyama (b. 1921). Akiyama is a Japanese print artist best known for his casual and spontaneous imagery of owls, cats and cattle. His prints and images are imbued with a subtle and sly sense of humor and many of his prints include poetry and maxims, some based on Buddhist teachings. Akiyama was originally studying to be an oil painter when he discovered the works of Munakata Shiko and met him. He was so taken by the artist, his work and process, that he went on to study with the master print maker from 1959 to 1965.

This large, whimsical charger has all of the tell tale characteristics of Akiyama's work and the variegation and depth of the glaze and strong form act as a wonderful canvas for his painting. There is a long standing history of  artists in Japan, working across various medium, just think about Takeuchi Seiho for a moment. It would not have taken much persuasion to get Akiyama to decorate pottery and based on this example, he had some experience accentuating forms and using the pigments to their fullest. I am unsure who threw the Hagi style pot, but the image and calligraphy is all Akiyama.