Swanica explores Japan

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The next day, we went to "The Mashiko Reference Collection Museum" of Hamada Shoji.
Mashiko is a world famous potting center that is forever indebted to one man: Hamada Shoji. He found self-acceptance and understanding from his work, family, friends, and the art he collected the world over. He chose to name his museum the Sankou-kan or Reference Collection. His own work sits side-by-side other crafts that nourished him throughout his life. He wanted to share that with others as well and hence the collection at his large country compound with gatehouses, a classic minka farmer's house with a thatched roof, his workshop and the eight chamber noborigama(climbing kiln) behind it.

The Noborigama.

Hamada's wheel.
He made it turn by
putting a stick on
the hole.

Hamada Shoji (1894 - 1978), was the most well-known folk art ceramist of the 20th century. He studied under Itaya Hazan and began his lifelong friendship with Kawai Kanjiro when he was still in high school. Later on he befriended English potter Bernard Leach and philosopher Yanagi Soetsu.

Hamada Shoji,
Kawai Kanjiro,
Yanagi Soetsu.

They started the folk art "Mingei" movement together. Hamada established his studio in Mashiko, Tochigi prefecture, and his mingei works have been held in highest esteem in Japan as well as abroad. Hamada was designated a "Living National Treasure" in 1955.


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