The Art of the Vessel

March 13 – April 20, 2015

Shigaraki stoneware tsubo with upraised neck
ca. 15-16th century
Natural ash-glazed stoneware
16 1/2 x 15 1/8 in.
Inv# 8869

Light brown-glazed conical vessel with black dripping horizontal bands in black glaze, ca. 1960
Glazed stoneware
7 x 6 in.
Inv# 8923

Traditional broad-shouldered Iga vase with incised patterns, 2012
Iga-glazed stoneware
7 5/8 x 8 1/8 in.
Inv# 7860

Large Karatsu vase with tapered base and dripping green glaze, 2011
Stoneware with Karatsu glaze
17 x 15 3/4 in.
Inv# 7319

KAMODA SHŌJI (1933-1983)
Short four-lobed vessel with blue and black enamel-glazed abstract patterning, 1976
Glazed stoneware
6 3/4 x 6 1/8 x 7 1/2 in.
Inv# 8901

KAMODA SHŌJI (1933-1983)
Rounded vessel with striped enamel glazing, 1978
Glazed stoneware
21 3/8 x 14 1/2 x 8 in.
Inv# 8863

Press Release

For Asia Week New York 2015, Joan B. Mirviss is proud to open an important exhibition, Tsubo: The Art of the Vessel, organized in collaboration with the leading modern ceramic dealer in Japan, Shibuya Kuradatoen Co., LTD. This seminal exhibition focuses on the classical concept of the tsubo, literally, the storage jar, chronicling its uninterrupted history from ancient to modern times, and examining its role in shaping the greater ceramic narrative of Japan and clay art the world over.

The way in which the Japanese have approached and appreciated tsubo through history has been rather unique and special. Japanese poets, critics, collectors and scholars have referred to tsubo as works to be fondled and stroked, often identifying themselves with these seductive vessels to the point of losing themselves to their inner world. Descriptions of these vessels are pervasive throughout Japanese literature and history and contain now well-known poetic allusions. Admired through the centuries, these works have become widely treasured and acquired by collectors and museums both in Japan and abroad.

With works extending from Neolithic times, into 15th and 16th century medieval storage jars and through the 20th century, this exhibition will include over forty important clay vessels. Both glazed and unglazed, mineral-rich stoneware tsubo from many of the ancient kiln sites will be presented–– Bizen, Karatsu, Seto, Shigaraki, and Tamba. Porcelain vessels with delicate celadon, oil-spot, and blue-and-white, glazes and those formed with marbleized clay will provide insights into the important role that Chinese ceramics played in developments in Japan. Beyond the ancient and antique vessels, highlights will include daring forms by past master artists Kamoda Shôji (1933-83), Kawai Kanjirô (1890-1966), Kondô Yûzô (1902-85), Matsui Kôsei (1927-2003), Okabe Mineo (1919-90), Kitaôji Rosanjin (1883-1959), and Yagi Kazuo (1918-79) in addition to modern interpretations by current leading ceramic stars Kakurezaki Ryûichi (b. 1950), Mihara Ken (b. 1958), Mori Tôgaku (b. 1937) and Tsujimura Shirô (b. 1947).