Wednesday, June 4, 2014


According to the dictionary, "volume is the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed by some boundary", but what this definition is a bit short on creating is a real world perspective of what the volume of something, say a pot, truly means. If you have handled an o-buri chawan by Kumano Kuroemon, you will understand what I am talking about. If you are told the dimensions of his chawan, your mind and experience think, wow, that is a big bowl, but in hand and truly expressing the sense of volume of the pot, your immediate thought is WOW, that really is a big chawan. What really brings this up is that in the past two months, I have had three pots pass through my hands that I knew the dimensions, but in each case as they were unpacked, I was immediately awed by the sense of volume that they contained and the volume of space that they commanded. The three pots, a Kumano chawan, a tall vase by Kaneta Masanao and a stunning hakuji vase by Mashiko veteran, Hirosaki Hiroya. The impressive aspect of each of these pot is not simply about scale and actual volume, rather it is as much about how each command both their physical space and the space in which they are put. Though all objects will have some sense of volume, fewer yet can command the volume in which they are surrounded.
Illustrated is a tall Hagi vase form by kurinuki master, Kaneta Masanao. At over 14" tall, the vessel is impressive and imposing, commanding its space much like an ancient medieval citadel. The pot is glazed in a Shiro-Hagi glaze that has significant areas of blushed pinkish hues over half of the form and vivid areas of intense white speckles interrupting the absolute purity of the form. There are black highlights which define the form and process that peer out from underneath the glaze adding additional definition to the form and at the top of the form and on to one side there is a keyhole style opening cut out to complete the function of the form. In a static photo, volume can be hinted at, but it is only in person that the volume can be felt and fully appreciated.
"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."  W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)