Flower vase with engraved floral design,crackled white glaze

ITAYA, Hazan1932

The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts

The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts
Taito City, Japan

The skill of an artist who once studied sculpture has borne fruit in the delicate carved designs of hydrangeas and daffodils. The faint warmth of the semi-trasparent glaze is also appealing.

One of Itaya Hazan’s accomplishments was to elevate ceramics from a field of artisans and industry to a field of art. He enrolled in the sculpture course at the Tokyo Fine Arts School immediately after its establishement and graduated in 1894. His career as a ceramic artist began only after he had worked for a time as a teacher of sculpture and ceramics at the Ishikawa Prefectural Technical School and built a kiln on property he rented in the Tabata area of Tokyo in 1904. He finally produced his first works there two years later. The story of the dire poverty he endured around this time to devote himself to his art, including how he raised money for fuel for his kiln, has become legendary. His art name, Hazan, was taken from Tsukubasan, a mountain near his home town. The actual forming of Hazan’s works was left to his assistant Genda Ichimatsu, who shared both joy and hardship with him for over fifty years. Hazan himself poured his energies, both physical and mental, into the shapes and desings of his works, producing an enormous number of preliminary drawings.
The work shown here is a masterpiece in which Hazan’s skill at plastic surface design stands out. After the vase was formed on a potter’s wheel, its surface was lightly carved with large floral designs (hydrangeas, daffodils, peonies, cotton roses, etc.), as if in relief. Light colors were applied to the floweres, and then the entire vase was covered with semi-transparent glaze, generating an overall gentle sense of presence. This work exhibited at the 13th Teiten exhibition of 1932 and was purchased the same year. (Writer : Jun’ichi Takeuchi Source : Selected Masterpieces from The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music: Grand Opening Exhibition, The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, 1999)


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