Friday, June 20, 2014


Illustrated is a Shigaraki chawan by Minagawa Takashi (b.1930), the bowl was thrown and hand molded. The potter added a vertical texture about the surface before it was fired in an anagama, creating additional runways for the melting ash to fill and presenting a wonderful feeling in hand. Having studied with his father, Minagawa Kiyotaka, also a Shigaraki potter and the illustrious chajin (tea master) and potter Komori Shoan (1901-1989), Takashi inherited a vast amount of technical and aesthetic knowledge which he put to great use in a style that is readily identifiable as his own work. His pieces have an immediate rustic simplicity (wabi) to them and in many ways harkens back to chawan of the Momoyama and early Edo days though there is also something very contemporary about the forms, surface and attitude of the pottery. Though horizontal, the  texture is very reminescent of the ubiquitous bamboo or reed blinds (sudare) seen all over Japan and in art going back to at least the Heian-jidai. His pottery has been exhibited widely in Japan and he is represented in a number of prestigious galleries but probably his greatest accolade is his dedication to a tradition that is as much based on feudal Shigaraki ware as it is the sensibilities of the way of tea (chanoyu) and the chajin.