Monday, January 28, 2013


Whether a pot is conservative, abstract, cutting edge or obtuse, its basis and roots stem from some historical archetype. I remember an art history professor of mine being fond of saying; "everything comes from somewhere".  Case in point, a while back on my blog, I posted up a very fine Iga vase by Kojima Kenji, now some months later, I find it actually has two distinct origins. The first is that it was exhibited at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in 2004 and is illustrated in the catalogue. The second reference for this vase is the original early Edo era vase that the Kojima vase owes a certain amount of its inspiration to, the Katachi (the essence of design?). Though not intended as an exact copy of the early Edo Iga vase, the characteristics, bearing and posture of the original, can be seen in the modern piece. The one thing that can be said about Kojima-san, beyond his pottery and firing skills, is his in depth study of historical Ko-Iga and Iga pottery. Through his study he has been able to understand the clay, forms, kilns, firing and wood choices for firing much better, all leading to him being at the top of his game. (The left illustration comes from the Kojima Kenji Mitsukoshi Exhibition catalogue 2004 and the right one from JAPANESE POTTERY (1971) by Soame Jenyns.)
"The core of his oeuvre is steeped in the ages-old tradition of Iga and Shigaraki ware - tsubo and kame, tea ceremony and sake pieces, and most of all vases - but the range of the forms and different looks he achieves within those traditions, invigorates the spirit." An excerpt from an essay in the Mitsukoshi exhibit catalogue written by Peter Ujlaki.

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