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  • Thumbnail for Tamba pottery, view 12., detail of the Ichino kiln
    Tamba pottery, view 12., detail of the Ichino kiln

    Closer view of the side of the Ichino kiln, showing the arched opening, the door, into one of the ware chambers. Piled next to the opening are the brick blocks that will be used to close off the opening for the next firing. Bundles of wood are stored on top of the arch and will be totally dried by the heat of the kiln during the early stages of the firing. Although there appear to be a couple of square kiln shelves to the left of the door in this photo, the Tamba kilns still are stacked largely using the traditional means of loading them, which means the use of saggers and/or the stacking of pots on top of one another, with wads of clay and high-silica ash wash between them, to prevent them from sticking to one another.

  • Thumbnail for Tamba pottery, view 14., kiln chamber being rebuilt, Ichino kiln
    Tamba pottery, view 14., kiln chamber being rebuilt, Ichino kiln

    At the time of the visit to the Ichino workshop, one chamber of the kiln was being rebuilt, giving us a very interesting look at the structure of a Tamba kiln. The bricks used to construct the flues appear to be either commercially produced brick or, at least, carefully pressed hand-made brick. The brick of the arch, on the other hand, is obviously hand-formed brick and less uniform in size and shape. The arch structure is, obviously, only one brick thick -- perhaps about 5 inches -- and, over that single course of brick, the arch has been mudded over with a layer of clay.

  • Thumbnail for Tamba pottery, view 13., pots left on ground near kiln
    Tamba pottery, view 13., pots left on ground near kiln

    These pieces had been left outside, on the ground next to the kiln. Some have obvious rough spots on them and may be pieces that will be re-fired.

  • Thumbnail for Tamba pottery, view 06., Ichino home and workshop
    Tamba pottery, view 06., Ichino home and workshop

    This is the home and workshop of the Ichino family, one of the foremost pottery families in Tamba-Tachikui.

  • Thumbnail for East Asian Ceramics:  Then and Now, 01 Oribe-ware Ewer.
    East Asian Ceramics: Then and Now, 01 Oribe-ware Ewer. by unknown

    Oribe-ware Ewer, from the early 17th century in Japan, Momoyama Period. The piece is high-fired stoneware, a buff colored body, probably fired in a neutral or oxidizing atmosphere, with the typical Oribe glaze combination of white glaze and a copper green poured on parts of the piece. There is pattern, design, painted on the piece, again, typical of Oribe style wares. The design was painted on the piece with an iron pigment or slip, probably painted on the piece prior to the glaze application. The resulting all-over surface decoration is typical of the exuberant energy of Momoyama art and culture. -- Gift of Robert Allerton, 1959.5 -- This piece was one of ten ceramic pieces in a special exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, East Asian Ceramics: Then and Now, held July 2 - November 6, 2005. The exhibit was curated by Janice Katz, assistant curator of Japanese Art, and Jay Xu, Pritzker Curator of Asian Art. An overview of the exhibition states, "Contemporary ceramic artists in East Asia continually draw upon their cultures' highly developed traditions. An artist may use a glaze that became popular centuries earlier or experiment with a traditional glaze by changing the resulting color. Contemporary artists also quote wares of the past through form and technique. In this exhibition featuring works from China, Korea, and Japan, pairs of contemporary and premodern objects are on display. In each case, the artist of the contemporary piece consciously adopts aspects of the earlier ware while creating a thoroughly modern work of art."

  • Thumbnail for Korean ceramics: Jar with dragon decoration, porcelain.
    Korean ceramics: Jar with dragon decoration, porcelain. by unknown

    A fairly large porcelain piece, very full in form. The surface of the piece functions as a canvas for the very bold, energetic brush decoration that covers the entire surface. The image is that of a dragon, a frequent theme in east Asian art, twisting as it moves through the air between clouds. The brush decoration is iron oxide applied under the glaze.

  • Thumbnail for Korean Ceramics:  Porcelain Jar.
    Korean Ceramics: Porcelain Jar. by unknown

    Large spherical jar of the sort known as a "Moon" jar. The museum label comments, these jars "...were loved by Korean people not only because of their white color, which was suggestive of Confucian virtues, but also because the form was thought to represent the fertility and gentle, embracing qualities associated with women during the Joseon dynasty." This example presents an interesting comparison with the jar presented in file ecasia000358, another "Moon" jar from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The one in Chicago has a more matte glaze surface, while this one has a transparent glaze. The difference in the glaze may be the result of placement in different locations in a kiln, with the matte surface possibly resulting from a slightly cooler temperature and the transparent glaze from a slightly higher temperature, as might result at the different ends of a tube kiln. (The Avery Brundage collection, B60P110+ )

  • Thumbnail for Japanese Ceramics:  Storage jar, Shigaraki ware.
    Japanese Ceramics: Storage jar, Shigaraki ware. by unknown

    A large storage jar in the characteristic Shigaraki form. Produced with the coil and throw technique, as can be seen on the right side profile of the piece. Typical rough Shigaraki clay with bits of feldspathic rock in it, which fused in the kiln to create the smooth white bits of "glass" in the the surface of the piece. The surface shows a slight gloss, the result of "natural glaze" from the firing, as wood ash from the kiln fire would combine with silica in the clay of the piece to form a silicate compound, a natural glass.

  • Thumbnail for Japanese Ceramics:  Jar with wisteria design, Imari-type Arita ware.
    Japanese Ceramics: Jar with wisteria design, Imari-type Arita ware. by unknown

    Porcelain jar with underglaze cobalt decoration, wisteria design. Imari-type Arita ware. (The Avery Brundage Collection, B67P7)

  • Thumbnail for Japanese Ceramics:  Jar with bird design, Arita ware.
    Japanese Ceramics: Jar with bird design, Arita ware. by unknown

    Porcelain jar with bird design painted in underglaze cobalt. Kakiemon-type Arita ware. (The Avery Brundage Collection, B64P37)

  • Thumbnail for Japanese ceramics:  Ewer, view 2, Oribe-ware.
    Japanese ceramics: Ewer, view 2, Oribe-ware. by unknown

    Stoneware with white and copper-green glazes, underglaze iron brushwork. - This image shows the opposite side of the vessel shown in image ecasia000366. It is an Oribe-ware ewer, showing the characteristic contrasting elements of Oribe-wares - white glazed areas with underglaze iron brushwork, often geometric patterns based on motifs from nature, contrasted with the freely poured patterns of copper green glaze. -- The image presented in ecasia000366 [enter that i.d. as a keyword search to view the image easily] was photographed in an Art Institute exhibit, "East Asian Ceramics, Then and Now," summer, 2005. It was placed in such a manner that it could be viewed from one side only [no reference to the MOMA Duchamp...]. The view presented here, ecasia000943, was photographed in a different Art Institute exhibit, "The Practice of Tea from the Edo Period to Today," on view during the spring and early summer, 2007. The vessel was placed in a case that allowed the viewing of both sides of the vessel in the second exhibit, permitting this second view, which provides an interesting look at the different nature of the design patterns on the two sides of the spout. On one side, the pattern is entirely the geometricized pattern of the hexagonal motif, perhaps derived from the abstraction of a flower form. On the other side of the spout is a combination of simplified, naturalistic flower motives and geometric abstractions of that form (the five lobed set of dots set around a central dot) and a pattern of straight linear strokes that may be an abstraction of the pattern formed by a fence. All of that activity is combined, of course, with the richness of contrast of created pattern / poured glaze, discussed in reference to image ecasia000366. -- One other point of interest to note in comparing the two views is the different position of the lid in the two views and the very different sense of patterning created by the different positions. -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (Gift of Robert Allerton, 1959.5) -- [Note also the difference in the color rendering between the two views, showing dramatically and unfortunately the difficulty of achieving accurate color representation in situations such as these, where the lighting in artificial and over which the photographer has no control. Both images have been edited somewhat to adjust the color balance in the image, but they remain different from one another and it is probably true that neither image is a truly accurate representation of the color of the actual object. This will be compounded by the fact that very few computer monitors are calibrated the same way, meaning that, even if the online images were completely true in color representation, it is likely that they would appear different on every monitor used to view them. Hence, in discussing images viewed online, one must be very careful and somewhat skeptical in discussing color; it is rarely accurate.]

  • Thumbnail for China Shop
    China Shop

    This picture was taken by Prof. Edward S. Morse of Harvard, who came to Japan in 1877 at the invitation of Tokyo Imperial University to teach zoology.

  • Thumbnail for Teapot with landscape image - closeup
    Teapot with landscape image - closeup

    This detail shows the haste with which this type of object was made in the swerving double lines at the top and the splashed ink trees on the right.

  • Thumbnail for Teapot with landscape image - side view
    Teapot with landscape image - side view

    This image shows how the artist carried the landscape scene around the pot, rather than simply create one on each side.

  • Thumbnail for Teapot with landscape image - front
    Teapot with landscape image - front

    Larger teapot with white glaze and painted landscape scenery of mountains in the distance, pavilion in the foreground.

  • Thumbnail for Yixing teapot - bottom
    Yixing teapot - bottom

    Bottom of Yixing teapot showing impression of seal.

  • Thumbnail for Large porcelain dish - detail of bottom
    Large porcelain dish - detail of bottom

    The decoration on this blue and white charger was inspired by Islamic ceramics of the 16th and 17th centuries and influenced the decorative patterns used on 18th century Dutch Delft wares.

  • Thumbnail for Shallow porcelain saucer dish - detail of side
    Shallow porcelain saucer dish - detail of side

    This doucai enameled dish is decorated with maidens in a terrace garden scene within a border of pine, prunus and bamboo, the “three friends of winterâ€. These plants are emblematic of longevity, as each hearty growth survives the cold, harsh winter months. The dish is inscribed on the base with an apocryphal Ming Dynasty Zhenghua (1465-1487) reign mark, but the decoration, enamel technique and subject matter are clearly 18th century.

  • Thumbnail for Small pottery spoon
    Small pottery spoon

    This is a small pottery spoon probably covered with copper-green lead-silicate glaze, much of which has chipped off. Such a glaze was common in the Han dynasty for changing color when buried in the earth. It becomes iridescent and silvery. This spoon mouth is bumpy and in some places uneven. The end of the handle seems to have been carved into a design but was worn smooth. This pottery spoon was most likely made during the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD).

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Copper-red Pot
    Chinese Copper-red Pot

    2 3/4" x 2 3/4". Globular form with white ground glazed all over except for the bottom of the foot ring, painted with copper-red dragons pursuing a pearl amid cloud forms on two sides, a band above the foot ring with floral meander and a band of alternating ruyi heads and bats around the mouth, details picked out with gilding, plus a gilded ring on the lip, marked in red enamel, within an incised ring, with four character mark of Qianlong and of the period.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Stoneware Cup and Stand (detail)
    Chinese Stoneware Cup and Stand (detail)

    Cup - 2 1/8" h x 4" w. Stand - 1 1/4" h x 5 3/4" w. Petal - carved, campanulate cup, green-glazed, crazed and pooling thickly in recesses and running down on a solid, slightly splayed base in thicl pools, flat base with traces of spurs, double groove below the rim on the exterior. Design of overlapping petals repeated on the inside of the stand, encircling the cup ring, concave base, buff colored body.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase - view 1
    Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase - view 1

    5 7/8" h. Baluster form with amethyst colored glaze, finely crackled, fading to some irregular white areas by the foot, beveled edge flat, wide and shallow foot ring unglazed, interior unglazed, white glaze on the base inside the foot ring, splashes of deep red near and on the lip and above foot.

  • Thumbnail for Glazed White Vase
    Glazed White Vase

    Vase with light carving under a milky white glaze. Floral motif wraps around the piece, which has been repaired with a metal band around the lip.

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Tomb Candle Holders - view 2
    Chinese Tomb Candle Holders - view 2

    7" h. Paneled hu-formed stem with two degenerated animal head handles, molded in relief with floral sprays divided by bow-form raised and molded vertical lines raised on a high tapered base molded in relief with a frieze of stylized lotus petals, supported by five simple feet, surmounted by a hexagonal drip pan, on top there is an inverted scalloped tip collar surmounted by a tapered lip, minutely crazed greenish-beige glaze carelessly applied

  • Thumbnail for Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase (view 2)
    Chinese Copper-red Glazed Vase (view 2)

    5 7/8" h. Baluster form with amethyst colored glaze, finely crackled, fading to some irregular white areas by the foot, beveled edge flat, wide and shallow foot ring unglazed, interior unglazed, white glaze on the base inside the foot ring, splashes of deep red near and on the lip and above foot.