Japanese modern ceramic aesthetic


Footed abstract ceramic sculpture-by-Takiguchi-Kazuo---mjc

Takiguchi Kazuo ceramic sculpture


The concept of aesthetics in Japan is seen as an integral part of daily life, especially since the dominant religion of Shinto is a celebration of the innate beauty of landscapes and emphasizes the wholeness of nature. Shin is related to kami which includes the ‘essence’ of the inanimate and animate, including rocks, rivers, trees, animals and people.

The inclusion of Tao and Zen Buddhist philosophies into Shinto contributed to an understanding of the subtle balance that permeates nature and its appreciation became fundamental to the aesthetic ideals of the ‘arts’ and other cultural elements. According to the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida, the essence of Oriental wisdom is driven by fact that one craves for harmony in experience and also for unity. Much of what the West admires in Japanese art today can be traced to Zen influences on Japanese architecture, poetry, ceramics, painting, calligraphy, cuisine, gardening, the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and other crafts.
This was expressed in the Japanese arts, for example in calligraphy, where the brush line became sweeping and fluid — spontaneous rather than predictable, irregular rather than regular. In landscape painting, emptiness became a crucial ingredient and space itself was brought to life with a few strokes of the brush. Japanese haiku ( poetry) embraced silence and simplicity to evoke mood and sensation while Ikebana flower arrangement achieved beauty with a solitary spray of blossoms and emphasis on space instead of a complex arrangement and combination of colours favored by Western floral artists.



Yukiko Asakura flower vessel

The aesthetic concept of Shibui originated around 1370 and was used to describe an appearance or experience of intrinsically fine quality, tempered with economy of form, line, and effort, that created a timeless tranquility. Shibui objects appear to be simple overall but they include subtle details, such as textural design that balances simplicity with complexity. This is one instance among many where Shibusa treads a fine line between contrasting aesthetic elements, such as elegant and rough, a distressed uneven finish with smooth or spontaneous and restrained. The polarities all allude to the presence of the Taoist/Zen middle path, with its inherent stillness, detachment and serenity. Quietude represents one of the elements of Shibui along with the dynamic of moving towards non-dualism and the resolution of opposites. Shibui, represents a recognition or ‘felt sense’ of evolving perfection that is reinforced by the presence of opposites. Japanese potters, musicians, painters, bonsai and other artists often aspire to integrate ‘Shibui-like’ qualities into their art.


Kintsukuroi-Lakeside-Pottery pottery bowl cracks filled with gold

Kintsukuroi bowl

Wabi Sabi also contains the aesthetic of evolution of perfection where imperfections are accepted for the potential dynamic of still having to attain completeness. Kintsukuroi, the use of gold to repair broken pottery, is a recognition of this feature. Weathered, aged pieces contain the dynamic of new turning old, that evokes wabi sabi, as do irregular shaped pieces, possessing the potency of attaining symmetry.
Another aesthetic concept is Ensō, which means “circle”. It symbolizes the Absolute, enlightenment, strength, the Universe, and the Void. Some Zen Buddhist calligraphists believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō.. Some artists will practice drawing an ensō daily, as a kind of spiritual exercise.
Gazing upon a horizon after a boat has sailed from view is used to describe the subtle aesthetic principal of “yugen” where the visual is more hidden than overt. Circumstances and objects that provoke the imagination and the subtle can be connected to yugen. A deep awareness of an elegant and profound beauty is associated with yugen and what is distinctive about Zen aestheticism is its emphasis on enlightenment through contemplation of beauty in nature and art.
Simplicity, balance and refined elegance in Japanese art acts as a metaphor for the depth and beauty inherent in the natural surroundings. Even the Samurai recognized the disciplines and sense of balance exhibited in the arts and emulated some of their principals, which is why it is known as martial ‘arts’. Japanese art is deeply established in the traditions and lifestyle of Japan and the strength and structure of their culture will ensure it future longevity. Of all the artistic disciplines in Japan, the ceramics arts is probably the most elevated, having an important role in the presentation of their cuisines , ikebana floral displays, tea ceremony and interior decor.



Contemporary-Form-Zogan-Vase-by-Usui-Kazunari-(Japanese--1954) striped pottery vase

Contemporary vase – Usui Kazunari

20″ tall

Sold by Modern Japanese Ceramics, Kyoto




Oribe Koro Incense Burner — Kato Kuniya




Kato-Toyohisa-Purple-Shino vase

Kato Toyohisa purple shino vase






Ceramic bowl – Zogan decoration – Matumura Matumura

‘Zogan’ (damascening or inlaying) technique, is carving into the surface of the pottery, then inlaying clay of other colors into the carved-out areas to make a design. After inlaying the clay, a glaze is applied and then it’s ghost-fired.




Square-vase-with-white-glaze-and-trailed-glaze-decoration by Ryo Suzuki

Ryo Suzuki





Tokoname Tsubo Vase – Konishi Yohei




Brown Contemporary-Vase with geometrical motif-by-Hiraga-Taeko-A-mjc

Contemporary vase – Hiraga Taeko A

Modern Japanese Ceramics





Slab molded bottle with clear celadon gosu underglaze – Kawai Kanjiro

Eocene Arts




Footed black and white bowl – Yuri Takemura





Mashiko Bottle Vase — Shimaoka Tatsuzo





Chawan Tea Bowl by Ono Hakuko




Faceted shino vase – Hayashi Shotaro – White Shino glaze clings like ice and thick snow to the crenellated precipices of this sculptural vase.

height 15 inches

Modern Japanese Ceramics Gallery



Huge-ovoid Tetsu-e-Pottery-Tsubo-Vase-by-Shimizu-Yasutaka

Shimizu Yasutaka




Japanese-Living-National-Treasure-KATO-TAKUO-Vase in turquoise with black botanical patterns

Tato Takuo vase





Vase with white tree zogan inlay design – Moriyoshi Saeki

The zogan (damascening or inlaying) technique, is where the surface of the pottery is carved, and then clay of other colors is inlaid into the carved-out areas to make a design. After inlaying the clay, a glaze is applied the it is ghost fired.



Hagi-flower-vessel-with-white-slip-glaze--red-and-engraved-wavy-line-decoration by Atsuyuki Ueda

Contemporary Japanese vase – Atsuyuki Ueda




Hayato Sawada faceted vessel

Gallery Japan




Porcelain lidded vessel – Takashi Ikura

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Photo: SAIKI Taku





Contemporary ceramic vessel – Ki Kakuseki




Morino-Taimei contemporary ceramic vessel

Morino Taimei

William Bayer Collection




Junko-Kitamura from Ceramic Art and Perception

Junko Kitamura

Ceramic Arts and Perception




Kaneta-Masanao abstract ceramic sculpture

Kaneta Masanao




Kakurezaki-Ryuichi-Bizen-Mizusashi vessel

Kakurezaki Ryuichi – Mimitsuki fresh water container





Kato Ichiro Exhibition — Kaki Tsuto gallery




Kawamoto Taro-sculptural-vase asymmetrical shape

Kawamoto Taro sculptural vase




Ken-Matsuzaki,-Square-vase,-hidasuki-technique,-stoneware,-10-x-5-x-5-inches - orange and white glaze

Ken Matsuzaki, Square vase, hidasuki technique.

Bizen stoneware, has the characteristic reddish hidasuki or “fire-marked” pattern. Bizen stoneware is produced from a unique clay that can only be mined from the Bizen area of Okayama Prefecture, Japan. The clay has an unusually high Fe content compared with the traditional porcelain clay and prior to firing, the Bizen works are wrapped in rice straw that was used originally as a separator to prevent adhesion. The hidasuki pattern only appears where the rice straw has been in direct contact with the clay and potassium from the straw is thought to be the catalyst.




Ken-Mihara--contemporary Japanese pottery

Ken Mihara




Shimaoka Tatsuzo jomon platter





Marbled jar – hydrangea design – Matsui Kosei





Large Mashiko vase – Shimaoka Tatsuzo




Large-white Shino-Tsubo-by-Hayashi-Shotaro with red highlights

Large white Shino Tsubo by Hayashi Shotaro





Bizen vase with fire marks and kiln mutation effect – Kazuya Hashimoto

Gallery Japan



Large-turquoise vase-by-Morino-Taimei-with gold highlights

Large turquoise and gold sculptural vessel by Morino Taimei





Mitsui Kosei





Mentori Shigaraki Vase by Koyama Yasuhisa




Yamazaki Akira





Faceted bowl with Iroe decoration in engraving  overglaze enamel  gold and silver. Hokuto Ito

Iroe (literally color painting in Japanese) is a technique in which a transparent glaze is applied and the piece glost-fired, then paint is applied over the glaze and the piece is fired again at a low temperature of approximately 800 degrees Celsius. It is also called uwae, or over-painting. The paint used in traditional iroe is known as wa-enogu (Japanese-style paint), and color choices include red, blue, yellow, green and purple. It is also possible to use yo-enogu (Western-style paint).




Ando Hidetake ovoid vase





‘Dragon Cloud’ – Two piece kutani stoneware sculpture – Nakamura Takuo




Jar-of-irregular-shape-with-colored-slip-decoration by Ryuji Miyahara

Jar of irregular shape with colored slip decoration – Ryuji Miyahara

Gallery Japan



Akira-Satake ceramic cup japan

Akira Satake – ceramic cup




Bird decoration vase –  Kazu Yoneda



Nakamura-Takuo Square jar - Santa-Rosa-Junior-College

Nakamura Takuo




Nakashima-Ichiyo ceramic vessel

Nakashima Ichiyo



Okumura-Hiromi---sculptural ceramic form

Okumura Hiromi – sculptural ceramic form




Ceramic bowl-with-indigo-three-color-glaze-decoration.-'1307-'---Kiyokazu-Kato

‘1307’ indigo bowl—Kiyokazu Kato

Gallery Japan




Porcelain Tenmoku Jar  — Taku Nonaka




Elegant blue shino vase -Hiroshi Sakai




Huge pottery vessel, mottled surface – Shimizu Uich




Pottery-Tsubo-by-Shimizu-Yasutaka--orange and black glaze mjc

Shimizu Yasutaka tsubo




Tsumiage Kaki (Flower Vase) – Yamamoto Izuru





Miyake Yoji





Kazuhide Uchida




SAIDEIJI-TSUBO by KIKUCHI, Hiroshi painted slip surface

Sadeiji tsubo – Hiroshi Kikuchi





Vessel-with-black gold-and-silver-decoration

‘Flowing shadow’ – Yoshie Kitahama




Vintage vessel – Takiguchi Kazen






Wood fired vase – Tani Seiuemon

Sold Modern Japanese Ceramics





Oribe Plate – Shigemasa Higashida





Shigaraki Vase by Ueda Mitsuharu




Takiguchi-Kazuo abstract ceramic sculpture

Takiguchi Kazuo





Tomoo Hamada




Gomi-Kenji-ceramic sculpture

Gomi Kenji



Kato-Takahiko ceramic sculptural form

Kato Takahiko

Santa Rosa Gallery




Yasuhisa Kohyama




Yasuhisa Kohyama

Japan Art Galerie




Kawabata Fumio




Matsui Kosei – Stoneware with layers of colored clay

Alain A Truong



Yoshitaka-Hasu abstract vase

Yoshitaka Hasu

Touching Stone Gallery




NEXT POST – Papua New Guinea exotic arts



  1. sue barstow
    Posted July 24, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Another outstanding collection for us to see. Thankyou so much for the outstanding eclectic art you keep coming up with.What a variety of work you have shown but always of the highest standard and presented so well.
    We just had the Indigenous Art Festival in Cairns and Thancoupie was the patron and one of the founders. I think you would like all their work. Canopy Art in Cairns and CIAF could be contacted. Look forward to your next display. sue barstow

  2. Monica van den Berg
    Posted July 25, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Amazing work. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Kind Regards

  3. Querardien van aaaaa
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Amazing work!

  4. Donata
    Posted October 4, 2016 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Sono delle opere veramente belle ,grande
    maestria ,colori e decori molto piacevoli,
    forme interessanti !Donata

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