Japan and Korea: Contemporary and modern ceramic work


Ever-renewed traditions 1000 years or more in the making.








Closed Beginning Opens the End, 2018, egg shells, rice paper, milk paint, pigment, mirror.

Kato Mami, Japanese born 1950. Philadelphia Art Museum


The artist chose eggs as a symbol of birth and rebirth. 

She has connected half egg-shells with Japanese rice paper and centered the structure with a tiny mirror too small to reflect the individual outline and features of people who approach.








Fill and Empty 0317, 2017, copper, brass, iron.

   Woosun Cheon, Korean born 1976. Philadelphia Art Museum


A complex welding process where the colour derives, in part, from boiling the whole in strong dark tea. 







Direction of the Wind – Unglazed Clay Pipes, 1955, unglazed Shigaraki white clay.

 Yagi Kazuo, 1918-1979, Japanese; a member of the Crawling Through the Mud Association.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY





Plate with bamboo grasses in snow, stoneware with overglaze enamels and underglaze iron-oxide statin. 

Kitaoji Rosanjin, 1883-1959, Japanese.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Calligrapher, ceramicist, restaurateur, Rosanjin created plates for his own restaurant with an emphasis on tradition design and motifs.





Vessel with dripping black ink patterns, 1964; stoneware with white slip and black glaze.

Kondo Yutaka, 1932-83, Japanese.  Metropolitan Museum of Art






Gorgeous Effigy, 2003, porcelain with pale blue glaze.  Yoshikawa Masamichi, Japanese born 1946. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY








Impressed stoneware:  the form is created by slicing clay with wire; the surface impressed with metal files, 2011. 

Hoshino Kayoko, born 1949, Japan.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY








Sectional box, stoneware with enamel overglaze decoration, 1998. 

Suzuki Goro, Japanese born 1941.  Philadelphia Museum of Art






Stoneware with coloured clay inlays, 2005: an exaggerated profile of an actor of the Noh theater with a small head and dressed in voluminous robes. 

Kishi Eiko, Japanese born 1948.  Philadelphia Art Museum







Ring of Flowers, porcelain with coloured glazes, 2000. 

Tokuda Yasokitchi III, 1933-2009, Japanese. 


He learned the use of glazes from his grandfather and further refined them to obtain this starburst effect. He was declared a National Treasure in 1997.  A high circular window of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is reflected.





Water jar of marbleized stoneware with lacquer lid, 1982.  

Matsui Kosei, 1927-2003, Japanese. He was designated a Living National Treasure in 1993. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY





Stoneware with gradated coloured clay, 2009.  The work is composed of thin layers of clay tinted with mineral dyes.

 Miyashita Zenji, 1939-2012, Japanese.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY







Coral Sculpture of Shigaraki stoneware, 1998.  The structure is coated with pellets (chamotte) and topped with iridescent yellow. 

Katsumata Chieko, born 1950, Japan.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY








Water Container, 2012, porcelain with enamel overglaze decoration. 

Sasaki Fumiyo, Japanese born 1964.  Philadelphia Art Museum





Jar, stoneware with natural ash glaze (bizen ware which evolved in Japan).

Inchin Lee, Korean born 1957.   Philadelphia Art Museum.   





Vessel with blue glaze, 2013. Porcelanous (half porcelain, with cobalt blue gaze) stoneware. 

Kimura Yoshiro, Japanese born 1946.  Philadelphia Art Museum from whose web site this photo.


The artist used a tool to carve a rippling pattern into wet clay.  Even the pattern has a name: renmon.




Spindle Vase, c. 2011, stoneware with petalite oak ash glaze. 

Young Jae Lee, Korean born 1951.  Promised gift to the Philadelphia Museum of Art








Red Luster, 2008, lacquer. 

Chung Haecho, Korean born 1945.  Philadelphia Art Museum. 


The artist achieved this shape through multiple layers of hemp fabric and sumac tree sap (laquer) over a Styrofoam structure later removed.








Disappearing Jar (Kieyuko tsubo), bisque-fired, white glazed stoneware. 

Yamada Hikaru, Japanese, 1923-2001.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY







Bowl, 2011. 

Saeda Makoto, Japanese 1973, porcelain with underglaze blue decoration.  Philadelphia Art Museum


A technique developed in China: blue-and-white ware using cobalt pigment imported from the Middle East.






Plate, c. 1985, stoneware with natural ash glaze. 

Kawabasa Kenji, Japanese born 1948.  Philadelphia Art Museum


Bizen-style ware.  Bizen being unglazed clay fired at high temperatures with variations in surface texture and patterns coming from swirling ash.




Dish, c. 1995, earthenware with impressed and white slip decoration. 

Sasaki Atsushi, Japanese born 1943.  Philadelphia Art Museum





Bowl, 1999; stoneware with white slip decoration. 

Kang-hyo Lee, Korean born 1961.  Philadelphia Museum of Art










Dango (Rice Cake), 2011, stoneware with overglaze enamel decoration.

  Kaneko Jun, American born Japan, 1942. Philadelphia Art Museum








Dish, c. 1981, stoneware (Mashiko ware). 

Okada Kenzo, Japanese 1948.  Philadelphia Art Museum








Vase. c. 2001, glazed porcelain with relief decoration. 

Shomura Ken, Japanese born 1949.  Philadelphia Art Museum. 


The artist wants to recall the of indigo dye of fabric.







Bowl, 2005, stoneware with underglaze blue and overglaze enamel decoration. 

Maeda Masahiro, Japanese born 1948.  Philadelphia Art Museum







Vase in the Shape of a Lotus Leaf, c. 1987, porcelain with celadon glaze. 

Kawase Shinobu, Japanese born 1950.  Philadelphia Art Museum.






Vase, 2000, stoneware. 

Tsujimura Kai, Japanese born 1976.  Promised gift to the Philadelphia Art Museum








Sekisoh (Layer upon Layer), 2019, stoneware. 

Izumita Yukiya, Japanese born 1966.   Philadelphia Art Museum


The artist collected salt-rich clay and applied it to a design using folded Japanese paper. 






Gourd-shaped water jar (mizusashi), 2011, stoneware with natural ash glaze. 

Tsujimura Shiro, Hapanese born 1947.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY







Bowl, 2017, stoneware with platinum metallic glaze. 

Shiina Isamu, Japanese born 1968.  Philadelphia Art Museum









Vase, stoneware, 1997. 

Takiguchi Kazuo, Japanese born 1953.  Philadelphia Art Museum








Choto (Listening to the Waves Vase), 2005, stoneware with sand glaze. 

 Sakiyama Takayuki, Japanese born 1958.  Promised gift to the Philadelphia Art Museum









Frozen Cloud II-5, stoneware with black slip, 2004. 

Hoshino Satoru, Japanese born 1945.  Philadelphia Art Museum





The Sodeisha


Vessel with Linear Designs in Iron Glaze, 1951, stoneware with black and white glazes.  Yagi Kazuo, 1918-1979, Japanese.



Yagi Kazuo (1918-1979), Osamu Suzuki (1926-2001) and Hikaru Yamada (1923-2001) were co-founders in 1948 of the avant-garde ceramicist group called Sodeisha (Crawling Through the Mud Association), based in Kyoto.


They used traditional techniques to make innovative ceramics, influenced both by Japanese tradition and Western abstraction.  They did not limit themselves to vessels with functions. They wanted to create art.  

Holding firmly to the rich inventory of Japanese traditional techniques, they went up against an ancient expectation of functional and folk-art objects. 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained:  these bold ones have left a deep seam of earthenware of a beauty and originality not seen before.

And a vast and admiring public and a succession which includes a number of artist-artisans declared National Treasures.




Flame-rimmed deep bowl dating to 3500-2500 BC, earthenware.

From Japan’s oldest civilization, this coil-built  bowl, smoothed by hand and with a paddle, is thought to have had a ritual function because of the irregularity of its rim.




These pieces, some by members of Sodeisha and some by their followers, are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY





Dish with Three Circular Spots, c. 1950s, stoneware with fire marks (Bizen ware).

Kitaoji Rosanjin, 1883-1959.





Black pottery screen, 1982, smoke-infused stoneware. 

Yamada Hikaru, 1923-2001, Japanese.


A co-founder in 1948 of the avant-garde ceramicist group Sodeisha (Crawling Through the Mud Association).

  He began making sculpture from 1948 onwards.





White- and brown-glazed tiles are arranged in a mandala.  I don’t know the date. 

 Yamada Hikaru, 1923-2001, Japanese





Fragments with gold glaze, 1984, gold-glazed stoneware, iron, vinyl line. 

  Yamada Hikaru, 1923-2001, Japanese





Vase with silver-painted linear design; 1988; stoneware with paper-resist slip decoration and thin silver glaze. 

Kuriki Tatsusuke, 1943-2013, Japanese





No Sound C, 1992, stoneware with black slip.

  Hayashi Yasuo, Japanese born 1928












Shell vessel, 1997, Shagaraki stoneware with white glaze. 

Koike Shoko, Japanese born 1943. 

A rare woman ceramcist to have been declared a National Treasure




Black and iron red key pattern vase, stoneware, 2000.

Morino Hiroaki, Japanese born 1934









Large jar, stoneware with natural ash glaze.

  Tsujimura Yui, Japanese born 1951. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



The clay is feldspar.  The jar was fired on its side during which ash was blown onto it and produced the blue and green abstract pattern.  






Bo II (Full Moon II), 2003, porcelain with celadon glaze, cherrywood stand.

  Fukami Suehari, Japanese born 1947, Philadelphia Art Museum






Faceted, covered vessels with pale blue glaze, 2004; porcelain with pale blue glaze. 

Yagi Akira, born 1955.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Based in Kyoto.  He is the son of one of the co-founders of the avant-garde Sodeisha ceramics group, Yagi Kazuo (1918-1979).






Spiraling Vessel, Dizzy Shadings, marbelized stoneware, 2005. 

Ogata Kamio, Japanese born 1949





Gourd-shaped water jar, 2011, stoneware with natural ash glaze.  Tsujimura Shiro, Japanese born 1947





Flow; sand-glazed stoneware with matte white slip. 

Fujikasa Satoko, Japanese born 1980.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY






Lunar fragments, 2014, multifired, unglazed porcelain with formed glass glaze.

  Ogawa Machiko, Japanese born 1946.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


The artist’s formation included studies at the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo and at the Ecole des Metiers d’Art in Paris.  She then spent 3 years in West Africa learning basic ceramic techniques. 

Her work simulates the earth but is fully created.





Vessel, 2014, ceramic. 

Jin Eui Kim, Korean born 1977.  Philadelphia Art Museum





Large bowl with stripes, 2016, marbleized stoneware. 

Ito Sekisui V, Japanese born 1941. Declared a National Treasure in 2003.

He is the fifth generation ceramicist from Sado Island.  He works with an ocher clay which is a by-product of gold mining.





Faceted Vase, 2017, glazed porcelain. 

Maeta Akihiro, Japanese born 1954.  Philadelphia Museum of Art






Upwelling of Gravity #9, 2017, porcelain, stainless steel.

Li Hongwei, Chinese born 1980.  Philadelphia Art Museum






Untitled (MV202 (Metavoid 202), 2020, stoneware with rusted iron coating. 

Akiyama Yo, Japanese born 1953.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



















Middle of Somewhere, glazed porcelain, 2000. 

Sun Koo Yuh, American born Korea 1960. Philadelphia Art Museum. 

Using  the Korean folk colours and story creatures of his childhood, the ceramicist built this from the inside out and from the bottom up.







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