Ceramic Cats.

Just so you don't think my life is only full of toys & trinkets, I actually did something cultural the other day. During an extended dinner break, I popped over to the Mediatheque and observed a display of ceramic pottery. I'm not normally a big fan of pot, but these particular examples caught my eye. The acclaimed ceramicist,本間伸一 Honma Shinichi, has revived the 桃山 (Momoyama: 1568-1603) ceramics popularized at the beginning of the Showa era. From the pamphlet that they gave me as a freebie (regularly 300¥, but they took pity on the dumb gaijin, besides it was the last day and they had several), "The distinctive feature of his works lies in unique forms that are structurally simple and therefore of impressive charisma. He prefers natural ash glaze which forms surfaces with an extremely ascetic atmosphere. The works might let you feel tolerant space of the Great Navigation Age that Momoyama persons lived in. Although the potteries have the profound beauty beyond the artificiality that shakes our soul, they have the modesty to serve as daily necessities." And they look cool too!

He has fired up the ancient Anagama kiln and...well look for yourself:

Yet what was even more impressive were the cat-shaped Hibachi braziers (ceramic hand warmers) done in the 手あぶり猫 or Teaburi Neko style. (Click on the photo on the right to see how it's done.)

His daughter, 本間文江 Fumie Honma "...has recreated the lovely cats you see everyday; licking paws, about to run to get the prey, staring at something full of curiosity. She learned the technique to create the right colour or texture by controlling complex factors such as humidity, how to use glaze, how to stoke a fire with wood..."

There will be another exhibit of their works at the Fujisaki Department store from August 27th-July 3rd, so if you're interested, check it out.

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