JAPANESE pottery and porcelain is one of the country’s oldest art forms.
THE art of pottery production in Shigaraki Town, 1.5 hours by train from Kyoto, has a long history, which can be felt when walking down the streets of the village.The pottery here is constantly evolving because of the younger potters learning the skill. Today, alongside the traditional pottery plates and bowls, you can also find everything from bathtubs to stereo speakers.
One young artist, 28-year-old Tadanao Okuda has grown up with pottery and can be found almost daily making works of art at the family kiln – Okuda Chuzaemon gama, which has been operational since 1888 (Meiji Period). Today, it produces works that are far different from those made 122 years ago.
The piece below is titled ‘1000 years of tranquility’ (Sen Nen No Yasuragi). An essential element of the pieces is the jizou – one of the most loved of all Japanese divinities. In this work, a very tranquil jizou is standing with his hands clasped and is backlit to create a tranquil mood to all that see this piece of work, which was designed so that people could remember departed family members or pets. Interpretation, however, is up to
There are many things that stand out in Shigaraki, a short variation in your travels to Kyoto can see you enjoying a totally different world.