Monday, August 22, 2016


There are a lot of books in sets and series that were published in Japan on post-war (Showa era) pottery during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. I really like this era pottery and the pots that were made, there is a strength and honesty to these pieces but that is not to say that pottery of the Heisei era is any less honest or lacks strength, it is just that there seems to be a distinct difference in the pieces of these two eras. Many of the post-war era potters trained the potters of the late Showa and Heisei eras imparting a distinct skillset and sense of tradition which served as the genesis of the pottery of today. As you thumb through these older book sets and dictionaries I am immediately struck by how direct, often stream lined and simple the pots are coming out of the post-war up into the 1980s, I truly enjoy these pots as many seem to have a lot to say without trying hard to do so and are a tremendous blend of  the technical and tradition vision that drives pottery making even to the present day.

Illustrated is an early chaire, circa Showa go-ju yon (1979) by the now veteran Hagi potter, Hatano Zenzo (b.1942). Studying under Yoshiga Taibi (1915-1991), Hatano learned a strict sense of form, glaze and firing from his master and it shows in both his earlier works and his pottery of today. The wheel thrown and crisp form is accentuated by the wonderful blushing and zirconium (?) crystals speckling the surface with a stiff flattened shoulder capped off by the lid. Though over three decades old, the pot is a distinct reminder that the pottery of the Showa era is as fresh as ever.