Category Archives: Japanese

The ceramic recreations of Munemi Yorigami


re-creations - Munemi Yorigami symmetrical sculpture

Munemi Yorigami


Breaking from Japanese ceramic tradition – Munemi Yorigami & Chieko Yorigami


Yorigami finds inspiration in the resurrection of broken ceramic pieces which rise like a phoenix from his kiln. He immensely enjoys the unpredictable abstractions and reconstruction to the modified form. His exploration of the opposing forces of control and unpredictability along with destruction and recreation, leading to the modeling of a new ‘whole’, has been a major influence in his direction in ceramics for several decades. By breaking the form, Yorigami believes he is exposing the ‘heart and soul’ of the clay, which leads to revealing its intrinsic nature. He feels it highlights the hazards of transforming clay during its passage through fire and the risks in kiln baking and the inherent vulnerability to breakage.
The modification of the unexpected results is enhanced by the choice of different glazes and firing for the pieces before reassembly, and Yorigami describes this process of manipulating the clay elements as “transferring memory”. Yorigami rebuilds his sculptures in a vivid patchwork based on the four colours of white, black, ochre and ivory and builds his sculptural pieces from dolomite or porcelain clay with a combination of slabbing, coiling and press-moulding techniques.
Yorigami was born into a family of ceramicists in Kyoto and his father specialized in making teaware. In the late 1940‘s, Yagi Kazuo formed the Sodeisha group which represented avant-garde ideals and looking beyond Japanese ceramic traditions. Yorigami joined this group and was influenced by Kazuo, which contributed to his break from the established ceramic arts.
Yorigami claims that ‘when confronted with clay, it is our instinct to want to conquer it’. He took this to another level where his desire to conquer the baked clay with the re-arrangement of its solid form. Included in the images here is some ceramic pieces by his wife Chieko Yorigami.




the-delightful-days-A pair of recreation sculptures by munemi-yorigami

Re-constructed ceramic sculptures – ‘The Delightful Days’ – Munemi Yorigami


The pieces are baked using three methodologies. The black ceramics are fired in a kiln at a temperature which is elevated to 900℃, then naturally lowered to 500~600℃. I then take fully soaked pine tree leaves and pour them at the opening of the kiln to seal it and smoke the black ceramics. As for white ceramics, it’s burned at 900℃ either under oxidation or reduction atmosphere. Oxidation firing will give an ivory color, while reduction firing will give an even whiter color. With the ceramics kiln used for the orange colour, I take the broken pieces and add vermiculite, and start the reduction firing at 800℃, and smoke burn at 900℃. I re-attach the pieces with adhesives to regenerate its original shape, and finally add plaster to the seam to accomplish the artwork.



Outdoor Re-creation sculpture – Munemi Yorigami




Re-creation Bottle – Munemi Yorigami



5 ceramic sculptures by Munemi Yorigami

Munemi Yorigami



ceramic abstract arrete-sculpture munemi-yorigami

Abstract ‘Arrete’ sculpture – Munemi Yorigami



munemi-yorigami-triangular shaped recreation sculpture

Triangular re-creation sculpture – Munemi Yorigami



munemi-yorigami-wall-panels - three rectangular recreation sculptures

Re-creation Wall Panels – Munemi Yorigami



aya-kon-pot by Cheiko-Yorigami

‘Aya Kon Pot’ – Chieko Yorigami

Chieko Yorigami graduated in ceramics in 1968 and following an industrial ceramics course for a year, she studied for two years under Mr Junkichi Kumakura.




chieko--yorigami-teapot-in black,and sliver with a gold lid

Chieko Yorigami teapot




Lidded ceramic box – Chieko Yorigami





‘Silver color dispenser’ – Chieko Yorigami



clever-writing-munemi-yorigami ikebana-sculpture display with two geometric ceramic pieces

‘Clever Writing’  – Munemi Yorigami




wall-of-red-munemi-yorigami - red, black, white sculpture

‘Wall of Red’ – Munemi Yorigami




‘Cone 1’ – Munemi Yorigami



flower-arrangement green--and-vase-munemi-yorigami

Square ceramic vase with ikebana display – Munemi Yorigami




flower-arrangement green-1-device

Ikebana vase with flower arrangement – Munemi Yorigami




form-of-old Munemi Yorigami-abstract sculpture

‘Form of old’  – Munemi Yorigami




4 lidded vessels – Chieko Yorigami




gold-and-silver-aya-angle-platter-Cheiko Yorigami

‘Gold and silver aya angle platter’ – Chieko Yorigami




Balancing Ball sculpture -Munemi Yorigami



jin-choi-dispenser - Chieko Yorigami teapot with triangle motifs

‘Jin Choi dispenser’ – Chieko Yorigami





‘Mount’ – Munemi Yorigami




munemi-yorigami ikebana cube vase

Ikebana vase – Munemi Yorigami



munemi-yorigami recreation ovoid sculpture on marble base

 Munemi Yorigami ceramic re-creation sculpture




munemi-yorigami conical sculpture

Conical recreation sculpture Munemi Yorigami



munemi-yorigami recreation biomorphic sculpture

Biomorphic re-creation sculpture – Munemi Yorigami




munemi-yorigami symmetrical V sculpture

Munemi Yorigami

“Objects That Preserve The Dignity of Space” 2013

Orie Gallery


munemi-yorigami-thick disc sculpture

Munemi Yorigami re-creation sculpture



munemi-yorigami-recreation sculpture

Munemi Yorigami




Munemi Yorigami




munemi-yorigami-recreations abtract sculptures

Munemi Yorigami




Munemi Yorigami




munemi-yorigami-ceramic-egg-scuulpture artland-gallery-jp

Re-creation Egg Sculpture – Munemi Yorigami




Saki Vessel – Chieko Yorigami




Re-creation Wall Sculpture – Munemi Yorigami





Public Re-creation sculpture – Munemi Yorigami




Munemi Yorigami




Public Re-creation sculpture – Munemi Yorigami





Re-creation sculpture – Munemi Yorigami




 Re-creation sculpture – Munemi Yorigami




ovale-recreation sculpture - Munemi Yorigami

‘Ovale’  – Munemi Yorigami




re-creations-idaku-part-3 by - Munemi-Yorigami-

Re-creations Idaku part 3 –  Munemi Yorigami




‘Oh Yeah’ –  Munemi Yorigami




‘Rings’ –  Munemi Yorigami



the-shape-of-the-pot-munemi-yorigami ceramic art

‘The Shape Of The Pot’  Munemi Yorigami



torso-in-hexagonal-Munemi- Yorigami Japanese ceramic sculpture

‘Torso In Hexagonal’ – Munemi- Yorigami




Chieko Yorigami

Aberystwyth University Ceramics Collection



house-2-munemi-yorigami - contemporary Japanese ceramic srt

House 2 – Munemi Yorigami





‘Pebble Cup’ Chieko Yorigami

Porcelain 9cm high–1992




Contemporary porcelain dual crescent sculpture – Munemi Yorigami






Re-Creations ‘Idaku part 1′ –  Munemi Yorigami






NEXT POST —  Aussie sculptural landscape


Contemporary Ceramic : Japanese Women


Although Japanese women were involved in the Japanese pottery industry for centuries, mainly as decorative artists with their tea wares or performing menial tasks, they were excluded from being in direct contact with the kilns or taking on apprenticeships.  Postwar Japan saw more opportunities arise for women in advanced education and they began to enter university art schools and other training facilities both in Japan and overseas. They were exposed to a broader range of creative disciplines and artistic movements and successfully integrated this into their ceramic art and sculptures, while maintaining  a connection to the subtle Japanese aesthetic.

From the mid-50’s on they began to establish themselves as independent studio pottery artists. The current generation of female Japanese ceramicists have truly emerged with original and innovative works that seamlessly blend contemporary with traditional styles and techniques and open up new horizons in Japanese art.



Tomita Mikiko - ceramic sculpture

Metamorphosis 5 –  Tomita Mikiko – ceramic sculpture






Tomita Mikiko

Metamorphosis 2 – Tomita Mikiko







Cornucopia 05-XIII – Tashima Etsuk

Japanese ceramic sculpture , 2005





Hayashi Kaku contemporary ceramics

Hayashi Kaku contemporary ceramics

( )





Hayashi Kaku

Hayashi Kaku




Sakurai Yasuko - Vertical Flower

Sakurai Yasuko – Vertical Flower


( yufuku gallery )

Sakurai first builds her forms by connecting her mold-cast porcelain tubes using clay and slip; she then scrapes away the exterior clay revealing her envisioned sculptural contours. The form is then hollowed out, now exposing the distorted openings that accent the walls of her sculptures.




Sakurai Yasuko

Sakurai Yasuko





Matsuda Yuriko

La Prière (The Prayer), 2006 – Matsuda Yuriko





Matsuda Yuriko

Matsuda Yuriko –  In her shoes,  2007.





Matsuda Yuriko Japanese ceramic art

Matsuda Yuriko   Mount Fuji, 2007

Clay with porcelain, enamels.





Koike Shoko

Persian Tea Bowl – Koike Shoko






Koike Shoko sculptural ceramic

Koike Shoko – Shell Vessel


Koike takes the sea as her point of departure, creating shell-inspired forms in stoneware with irregular, undulating edges that protrude from her hand-built bodies. Made from Shigaraki clay, her wheel-thrown bodies are later shaped by hand and adorned with ruffled edges and projections. A creamy white, opaque clay covers her forms. The edges are further defined with iron brown glaze and sometimes supplemented with metallic, iridescent or turquoise glazes.

Imada Yoko Purity

Sei (purity) – Imada Yoko

( yufuku gallery )



Kitamura Tsuruyo

Moon Shadows – Kitamura Tsuruyo


 ( )





Kitamura Tsuruyo Japanese sculpture

Essence of Woman, 1986. Kitamura Tsuruyo

Stoneware, glaze.





Kitamura Tsuruyo

 Dawn, 2003 – Kitamura Tsuruyo


Fukumoto Fuku

Fukumoto Fuku

White vase form of deep straight-sided bowl set within a conical bowl, joined by a band of blue and green glazes, 2013

( Joan B Mirviss )





Fukumoto Fuku

Fukumoto Fuku






Vase with Seascape – Kitamura Junko


Kitamura creates modern forms that reflect her upbringing in ancient Kyoto. Inspired by primitive Jomon pottery (10,500-300 BC), Kitamura creates monochrome vessels with mysterious spiral motifs consisting of dots and detailed patterning. After impressing miniscule geometric shapes into patterns reflective of textile, lacquer and other craft motifs, she covers the work in black-brown slip before bisque firing.




Kitamura Junko japanese female potter

Great Wave – Kitamura Junko


Photograph by Petegorsky/Gipe


Japanese Kitamura Junko

Large Double-Ellipse Vessel – Kitamura Junko




Kitamura Junko

Cone Vase – Kitamura Junko



Kitamura Junko


  Double-Walled Vessel  – Kitamura Junko

Stoneware, white slip, 2005





Kishi Eiko.--Japanese

Noh Form  – Kishi Eiko

Stoneware, colored clay chamottes, clay slip, glaze. 2004





Kishi Eiko contemporary sculpture

Saiseki Zōgan Vessel – Kishi Eiko



Kishi Eiko

Saiseki zogan utsuwa – Kishi Eiko

Eiko Kishi invented the technique used to create this piece, which she calls “colored inlay” (saiseki zōgan).  This technique is her primary method for making ceramic artwork, and she has been using it since 1984.  Kishi begins this process by mixing wet clay with small fragments of ground, hardened clay. She then molds the form of the piece and shallowly cuts a pattern into the surface of the form using a needle or engraving knife. Before firing, these crevices are filled with more fragments of ground clay, raw pigment, and glazes.  Kishi has said that she enjoys utilizing this process because the finished effect is reminiscent of stone, yet the works still retain the properties of ceramic objects






Saiseki Zōgan Flowing Motif in Stone – Kishi Eiko

1983  – Photograph by Keitaro Yoshioka, Boston.





Kawakami Tomoko ceramic vessels

Vessels for Flowers – Kawakami Tomoko



Katsumata Chieko

Katsumata  Chieko





Katsumata Chieko

Katsumata Chieko





Katsumata Chieko

Katsumata Chieko 1983

Helmet Shaped Vase with Textured Patination

 Photograph by Robert Lorenzson, New York.




 Untitled (French Pumpkin) – Katsumata Chieko


Photograph by Richard P. Goodbody.



Katsumata Chieko

Katsumata Chieko  1996

Katsumata went to study industrial design in France, where she met a female ceramic artist who used hand-built forms to express herself in a free and spontaneous manner. The freshness of this artist’s work made such an impression on Katsumata that she began making pottery herself. It was also through her French art-school tutor that she discovered the beauty of Japanese ceramics. Katsumata’s fondness for layering coloured slips owes much to a technique of overlaying colours in oil-painting. Instead of painting directly on the vessel, she covers the vessel with a piece of cloth while she applies the color in order not to leave traces of brushwork. The process of covering and applying decoration is repeated as required to produce a unique color and texture. Her use of striking hues and bold forms give her pieces a surrealistic edge.



Fujikasa Satoko-Flow-#1

The feminine elegance of Fujikasa Satoko-Flow-#1



Yellow glazed sculpture “Sprouting Seed”  – Fujino Satchiko

 ( Joan B Mirviss )

Sachiko Fujino.jpg-473px-506px

Fujino Satchiko

( WAH centre )


Hoshino Kayoko

Glazed Dish – Hoshino Kayoko


 By hand-pinching and slicing her clay with wires, Hoshino “releases” the forms within the clay to create silhouettes and shapes inspired by the mountain peaks and boulders from the natural landscape of rural Japan.





Hoshino Kayoko

Decorative Vessel – Hoshino Kayoko




Hoshino Kayoko

Platter with Palladium  – Hoshino Kayoko




Ogawa Machiko

Red vessel with linear motif – Ogawa Machiko

Stoneware with iron-oxide glaze -2012

( Joan B Mirviss )



Chawan by Ogawa Machiko

Chawan by Ogawa Machiko

( )


Futamura Yoshimi

 Vasques  – Futamura Yoshimia

The sculptural forms of Futamura Yoshimia are intended to be reflections of nature and are infused with a vibrant living essence. She uses a blend of stoneware and a mixture of fired and raw granulated porcelain to create her collapsed rounded forms that appear both vegetal and geological in origin. These forms are encrusted with feldspar, and enhanced with cobalt and iron oxide glazes that are sometimes iridescent.



 Futamura Yoshimi

Puls Gallery


 Vase 2008  – Futamura Yoshimi )



Futamura Yoshimi

 Naissance (Birth) – Futamura Yoshimi



 Kayoko Hoshino

 Kayoko Hoshino



Master Potter Shiro Tsujimura teaches Prime Minister


When the student is ready the master appears :


Past Japanese PM, Morihiro Hosokawa left the tough political arena for another path that was possibly just as demanding. After retiring from Japanese politics in 1998, he decided to retreat to a quieter life in the countryside of Japan. The plan was to do some reading, a bit of contemplation and stop to smell the cherry blossoms. But then on a whim he decided to learn pottery. Leafing through a pottery book  wondering who would be an appropriate teacher, Shiro Tsujimura caught his attention, particularly for his Shigaraki pottery. Additionally his reputaion for being a gruff and wild spiritied master supported  his decision as he didn’t want favouritism from being an ex PM.




The Elusive Tea Bowl Workshop

Shiro Tsujimura at The Elusive Tea Bowl Workshop


When Shiro Tsujimura  was younger he considered becoming a Zen monk, and underwent formal training at Sanshoji, a Zen temple monastery, until he took up the discipline of clay at the age of 22. He was no stranger to an austere lifestyle as Morihiro discovered after he was accepted to study with him. Shiro built his house and studio in the mountains at Nara, where he  lived with his wife, 3 large dogs, around 20 cats and the bats, moths and insects that visited through the generous gaps in the walls. Sometimes for meals they would roam the woods looking for wild mushrooms and Hosokawa had to adapt to no mobile phone usage and an outside toilet made entirely of wood.

Tsujimura would rise at 6am and go to his wheel and start throwing and go through to mealtime around 7 pm.  Hosokawa sat next to him at another wheel each day and watched and also threw clay. His instructions were succinct. ” Chuck it ” for abandon that attempt and start again, ” you ask too many questions ”  if a question was asked and “stupid man” – for some encouragement. There is a saying, ” the less a master tells you the more you learn “. While in the studio, department store and gallery people would come to visit Tsujimura, asking him if he would like to do an exhibition. It didn’t register that the 73 year old man apprentice covered in clay used to be their Prime Minister. After 18 months Morihiro Hosokawa felt he had discovered the joy of using a pottery wheel and creating works and left to work in his own studio. Morihiro Hosokawa mostly makes tea ceremony ware, using many of the different glazes that characterise each of Japan’s famous pottery districts. Hosokawa also practices the art of calligraphy.



Morihiro Hosokawa

Morihiro Hosokawa on his pottery wheel

Hosokawa Morihiro garden ceramics

Hosokawa Morihiro garden ceramics


Morihiro Hosokawa

Hosokawa Raku chawan

Morihiro Hosokawa Raku chawan

Stoneware tea bowl raku black

Stoneware tea bowl raku black – Morihiro Hosokawa

2008 Morihiro Hosokawa

 Black raku stoneware –  Hosokawa  2008

(  Five Colleges and Historic Deerfield Museum Consortium )


Morihiro Hosokawa


Tea Bowl Morihiro Hosokawa


Shigaraki fired vessel



Morihiro Hosokawa

Works by  Shiro Tsujimura :

 Shiro’s summation of  his artistic approach:  “A lengthy period of study isn’t necessary to make good pieces,”  “It’s not a matter of killing yourself over technique, but of the result.  It’s not even whether you use a traditional wood-fire kiln or a gas kiln. That is, it’s not a matter of process, but of whether you make pieces in the image you hope for. In the end, it is the artistic goal, the spiritual aspect.”Shino tea bowl

Shino tea bowl


Shiro Tshujimura tea bowl


Iga Uzukumaru jar


Flower Vase Iga Style

( Ippodo Gallery )

Tsujimura Shiro Tea Bowl

Tsujimura Shiro Tea Bowl

(  Lacoste Gallery )



Shino Sake Cup

Sake cup Ido style

Sake cup Ido style

Black oribe style tea bowl

Black oribe style tea bowl


Ido tea bowl


Iga Water Jar

Shiro Tsujimura

Natural ash glaze large jar


Karatsu tea bowl

Karatsu tea bowl

Kohiki jar

Expressive abstract Kohiki jar


Natural ash glaze faceted vase


Tea Bowl – Shiro Tshujimura

( Lesley Kehoe Galleries )

Natural ash glaze spherical vessel

Natural ash glaze spherical vessel

Other Japanese ceramics  that have caught my attention  lately :

Slab Molded Ikebana Vase

Slab Molded Ikebana Vase

John Dix Chawan

John Dix Chawan

( )


Inayoshi Osamu

( )


Modern Japanese Chawan Tea bowl  – Kawai Toru

Takayuki Sakiyama

Takayuki Sakiyama


Tetsuya Ishiyama

(  ippodo gallery New York )


Shoji Hamada

Charger – Shoji Hamada

Ichino Masahiko

Ichino Masahiko

( Yufuku Gallery, Tokyo )

Mihara Ken

Mihara Ken

( Yufuku Gallery )


Maeta Akihiro porcelain faceted vase

( Yufuku Gallery )

Cited Sources








Chawan, Yunomi and the Cha Dou

” In all things, whatever they are, the finish of every detail is not desirable: 

one that holds the attention is unfinished ” ( The Book of Tea – Kakuzo Okakura )


This statement really encapsulates the main concept of Wabi Sabi, which is essential in the creation of the ceremonial Chawan ( tea Bowl ). The deliberate adherence to an imperfected form during the making of the Chawan and its dedicated use in the ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony,  has been the most influential in the promotion of this concept in Japanese culture.

The ceramic objects reflect,  more than any other aspect in the tea ritual, the spirit of the Cha-Do (Way of Tea), based on the design aesthetic of Wabi Sabi .  Wabi  –  ( Wa: Harmony – Bi:  Beauty – “Beauty of Harmony” ).  Sabi – represents the beauty that can evolve with age. The changing of appearance with usage reflected impermanence, always a condition that was contemplated in the Zen philosophy.  Raku was chosen for the creation of the Chawan due to the inherent unpredictability in its production. Even a Pottery Master had to relinquish control and allow the alchemy of Nature, combined with  a humble servant, to determine the result. As the non symmetrical form was essential, the Chawan was always crafted by hand. The continual rotation of the bowl in the hand was believed to  enhance the spirit of the creator in the object. Also a simple shape was favoured to evoke a serene appearance.

Sen no Rikyu, the most renowned figure in the history of the Japanese tea ceremony, recognized the connection between Zen and the tea ceremony and synthesized many of the aesthetic elements of the tea ceremony in the 16th century.  Rikyu’s legacy has been long lasting, and his summation of the essential principles of the tea ceremony–wa-kei-sei-jaku (harmony, respect, purity and tranquility)–is a common inscription on scrolls decorating the chashitsu (tea room). From its refinement in the 16th century, the tea ceremony has become one of Japan’s most interesting and enduring artistic traditions. More than a ritual for preparing and drinking tea, the tea ceremony is a means to aesthetic appreciation and social interaction that has had a profound influence on Japanese art, architecture, gardens, cuisine and philosophy. All celebrated gardens in Japan were originally laid out by tea-masters.

What are the distinguishing features of a Chawan : 

 The main one is the curving  interior wall at the bottom. A functionality which is needed to allow the Chasen ( bamboo whisk ) to reach all the corners when mixing the matcha ( fine powdered green tea ). A smooth interior is preferable  so as not to damage the Chasen. As the Chawan has to be handled with one hand in the Chadou ( tea ceremony ), a bowl that is nicely balanced, isn’t too heavy, and has a foot that can be  easily gripped, is desirable.  A Chakin ( fine linen cloth ) is used to wipe the top edge of the Chawan, so this needs to be smooth, along with the comfort of drinking from a smooth surface. The Chawan is different than an everyday tea cup, known as a yunomi, which is generally used anytime for other kinds of teas such as sencha or bancha.

Chawan – Jay Michael Hines

Great Water Ceramics

Celedon Dot Tea Bowl – Marion Angelica

Satoshi Asano

Aki Katayama

Tea Cup – James Whiting

Adam Yungbluth

A Geisha serving tea at a Cha-Dou

Jun Akiyama

Jun Akiyama

Ceramic Tea Bowl – Ashley Howard

Gary Wood

Chawan – Jay Michael Haynes

Red and black Chawan

Ceramic Yunomi – Mark Griffiths

Tea Bowl – Margaret Curtis

Bamboo in Kyoto


Jim Malone

Satoshi Asano

Mihara Ken

Mirviss Galleries

Matsui  Kôsei – ( 1927 – 2003 )

Maeda Masahiro

Nishihata Tadashi – Tamba ware

Teabowl – Jeff  Oestreich.

Tomonori Koyama

Swipe Yunomi – combed kaolin slip
copper glaze/salted

( )

Shino Chawan – Michael Coffee

Shigaraki Chawan

Ryoji Koie

Stoneware yunomi with chun glaze over tenmoku and copper red glaze decoration. – Peter Sparrey

Stoneware Copper Red – Peter Sparrey

( Studio Tea Bowls )

Jeff  Oestreich.


Blunomi – black slip over white slip/wax resist,
salt glaze

( )
Porcelain yunomi in pink

Porcelain yunomi in pink mottled glaze

( Celadonsusan -Flickr )

Seagull cup 2 - Olia Lamar

Seagull cup 2 – Olia Lamar

Stoneware Teabowl Shino Glaze

Stoneware Teabowl Shino Glaze – Yolande Clark



Micah Sherrill cup

Micah Sherrill cup

Sarah Heimann

Sarah Heimann – carved and incised cup.

Mount Fuji Tea Fields



Anagama : wood fired stoneware from Shigaraki


The region of Shigaraki in Japan has been producing wood fired pottery since the 12th century. Shigaraki is an old pottery center in the mountains, which produces an excellent clay with relatively low iron content. Pottery here  is fired in an Anagama, the translation meaning “cave kiln”  ( the oldest type of kiln in Japan ). This can take from between a few days up to several weeks to create natural ash deposits on the pottery. The pottery is exposed directly to the smoke from the fire at temperatures up to  2500F and the fly ash, volatile salts and clay metamorphize to create an ash glaze.  In medieval Japan Anagama furnaces were built on slopes to achieve better thermal properties from the terrestial insulation, the kilns literally dug into the clay as caves. Traditionally the pieces were stacked on shelves built into the walls of the kiln.
The  Niho kougei-kai group based here (a group of traditional craftsmen ) strive to maintain the traditional techniques and a sense of Japanese beauty while maintaining the functionality of the pottery. This firing technique is similar to Raku in that no two firings deliver the same result leading to surprising effects. Wood firing kilns create colors and effects that no other firing technique can produce. Below are some examples of this Anagama created by Shiho Kanzaki. Shiho always uses a 10 day wood firing.


 Anagama kiln firing    Typical Anagama kiln firing.

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

The local sandy clay that originates from the bed of Lake Biwa helps to give the pots their warm orange colour and makes them extremely durable. Their irregular shape probably originates in Sue wares and their decoration relies alot on the firing process. The firing technique allows air admission into the kiln and this leads to iron oxides within the clay to form a significant part of the colouring process. The free movement of air results from the anagama (or cave) kilns that are used. They are typically constructed on the side of hills and their single chamber has a sloping tunnel shape.  Wood must be constantly added to achieve the high temperature required and this also adds minerals that give the wares their typical richness of surface

 Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Anagama chawan created by Shiho Kanzaki

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Shigaraki Vase


  Chawan Kanzaki Shiho

Chawan Shiho Kanzaki

Shigaraki Kogo ( incense burner )Here is a wonderfully fired and mountain form Shigaraki kogo-incense case by the world-renowned Kanzaki Shiho. The natural ash glazing is deep and rich and the form is as of it was simply dug out from the ground; both born only from a true master.

Japanese studio teabreakStudio tea break- Shiho, wife and friend.

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Lunchbreak shiho kanizanLunch-break unloading day.

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Shigaraki Tsubo-Jar by Kato Takahiko

Shigaraki Sake Bottle

Shigaraki Tokkuri ( Saki Bottle ) – Kato Hajimu

Shigaraki Vase Okuda Eizan

Shigaraki  Anagama Vase –  Okuda Eizan

Japanese Wood fired Shigaraki Anagami ceramic pottery

Shigaraki Sculpture-Vase by Kohyama Yasuhisa ( 75YO )

( Robert Yellin Gallery )



Aritayaki porcelin

Arita Japan is where one of the most famous styles of “yakimono” (Japanese Pottery) called Aritayaki (arita yaki) originates In the 16th century one of the potters in this region discovered Kaolin clay on Izumiyama (Izumi Mountain) in Arita,  and produced the first fine white porcelain in Japan. But during the 17th century the potter Sakaida Kakiemon achieved the polychrome overglaze enamel technique called “akae” from studying Chinese ware. He changed the monotonous wares in blue and white until then to colorful wares on which the red color was predominating.

The Arita potters began producing more innovative designs influenced by Persian and Indian patterns and diversifying there use of colors. This style of Japanese Pottery (Aritayaki Porcelain) is now among the most famous in the world. While Arita-yaki covers a vast range of ceramics today from decorative to practical, the exclusive pieces labeled Imari still bear the features of Old Imari and are highly admired both at home and abroad.

267_YPS0040 av_05


Jpapanese Beer Glass Arita Takumi No Kura Japanese ramen Bowl



Gallery of Japanese Potters

 The  role that pottery has played in development of the Japanese aesthetic and culture has been substantial.  Japanese pottery has evolved over the centuries into a high art form.  Since the Kamakura period (1183-1333), wood-fired pottery from the six oldest historic Japanese pottery centers (Bizen, Echizen, Tanba, Seto, Shigaraki and Tokoname) helped to cultivate a unique artistic appreciation that represented subtle understated beauty. Zen monks were among the first to extol the virtue and beauty of simple austerity. Today, the Japanese ceramists in various pottery centers continue their heritage, producing timeless works of art using traditional materials and techniques refined through centuries of experience.

Ichino Masahiko :

Ichino Masahiko - plate with geometric lines radiating from an orange circular centre

Ichino Masahiko

Ichino Masahiko Sculpture Ceramic art

Ichino Masahiko


-Ichino-Masahiko - asymmetrical bowl with abstract patterns

Ichino Masahiko



Ichino-Masahiko elliptical shaped vessel with pointed ends in orange and black

Ichino Masahiko



Tokuda Yasokichi III : Glazed vessel with high gloss in blue and turquoise green by Tokuda Yasokichi III

Tokuda Yasokichi III


spherical ceramic vessel in purple and blue by Tokuda Yasokichi III

Tokuda Yasokichi III



Tokuda Yasokichi III ovoid vase with turquoise and purple glaze

Tokuda Yasokichi III




Tokuda Yasokichi III ceramic tea jar with three handles

Kutani Tea Jar  Tokuda Yasokichi III




Ono Kotaro :

Ono Kotaro Ceramic vessel with frosted teal green colour glaze wavy textured surface

Ono Kotaro


Ono Kotaro White ceramic sake bottle and cup

Ono Kotaro- sake bottle and cup



New Works by Ono Kotaro - spherical ceramic vase with wave pattern surface decoration

Ono Kotaro



Ohashi Yutaka :

Chosen-Karatsu Vase by Ohashi Yutaka with two lug handles

Chosen-Karatsu Vase


 Ito Saibei :

Black Raku Chawan by Ito Saibei

Black Raku Chawan – Ito Saibei


Matsui Kosei :

Matsui Kosei ceramic bowl

Matsui Kosei



Matsui-Kosei Japanese ceramic spherical vessel, textured surface with horizontal stripes

Matsui Kosei



Matsui Kosei footed bowl

Matsui Kosei



Urakami Zenji :

urakami zenji ceramic raku vase

Urakami Zenji



Urakami Zenji Buddha figurative sculpture - Robert-Yeltsin gallery

Urakami Zenji


Urakami Zenji - raku lidded box - earth tones

Urakami Zenji



Hayashi Kotaro :

Hayashi Kotaro baluster vase

Hayashi Kotaro


Hayashi Kotaro ceramic cup

Hayashi Kotaro  ( 1940 – 1981 )

Robert Yellin Yakamoto Gallery



Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen : ( via – Touching Stone )

Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen spherical ceramic bottle

‘Twilight’  – Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen



Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen japanese vase

Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen



‘Storm’ – Reiko Kakiuchi-Cohen


Tadashi Nishihata   ( Tanba )

Tadashi Nishihata raku vase

Tadashi Nishihata




Nishihata-Tadashi-----globular Tamba-ash-glazed-pleated jar

‘Tamba ash glazed tsubo’  Nishihata Tadashi

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Tadashi Nishihata ovoid vase

Tadashi Nishihata vase



Nishihata-Tadashi-faceted ash-glazed-tamba-chawan

Ash glazed tamba chawan  – Nishihata Tadashi



Tadashi Nishihata spherical vessel

Tadashi Nishihata




Blue Contemporary-Vase-by-Morino-Taimei-B

Contemporary Vase by Morino Taimei B




Footed Chawan-18-Akira-Satake

‘Chawan 18’ – Akira Satake





Jar, tenmoku glaze and kaki trailed slip – Shoji Hamada





Marbled-ware-jar-with-glass like-gloss-- by Maeta-Akihiro


Marbled ware jar with glass like gloss by Maeta Akihiro



YASUKO-NAKAMURA incised plate

Yasuko Yakamura carved wall plate