Blue-and-white jar with pomegranate designArtist(s)Kondô YûzôObject Creation Datecirca 1960Medium & SupportPorcelain with blue underglaze paintingDimensions
7 5/16 in x 6 5/16 in x 6 5/16 in (18.57 cm x 16.03 cm x 16.03 cm);7 5/16 in x 6 5/16 in x 6 5/16 in (18.57 cm x 16.03 cm x 16.03 cm)Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
In the late eighteenth century, Kyoto potters adopted blue-and-white porcelain, originated by Korean potters in Hizen province. While Hizen’s pottery center, Arita, catered to the mass market, Kyoto produced high-quality copies of Chinese blue-and-white wares for upper-class banquets and tea ceremonies.
For the modern Kyoto potter Kondô Yûzô, the porcelain’s pure white surface was an ideal canvas that allowed him to render subjects vividly from nature. He once said: “In my pottery, I try to achieve the life naturally filling the shapes of fruits and plants from mountains and fields, to express their freshness, vibrant power, their grace, and their rigor.”
(Label for UMMA Japanese Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)
While the initial interest of twentieth-century potters in pre-modern ceramics centered on robust, warm-glazed wares like Shino and Oribe, or non-glazed wares like Bizen and Shigaraki, in the postwar period many potters were drawn to smooth and polished stonewares and porcelain. Among them, Katô Hajime was recognized for his incomparable passion for the great stoneware and porcelain traditions of China and the Middle East, as well as for his superb technique. This large white bowl, thinly potted to perfection, has a witty carved design of baby quails.
For the Kyoto potter Kondô Yûzô, the pure white surface of porcelain was an ideal canvas for vividly rendering subjects from nature. He once said: “In my pottery, I try to achieve the life that naturally fills the shapes of fruits and plants from mountains and fields, to express their freshness, vibrant power, their grace, and their rigor.”
(Turning Point exhibition, Spring 2010)Subject matter
Pomegranate is a popular motif in East Asian art, as it blessed with many seeds, represents the wish for numerous progeny and the attainment of sexual maturity by a woman (Reference: Baird, Merrily, Symbols of Japan: Thematic Motifs in Art and Design.)Physical Description
It is a medium size porcelain vase with pomegranate design in blue underglaze. The body is round with gentle shoulders; the mouth is wide and the neck is short and slightly inward. It has no foot. The pomegranate fruit and leaves are quickly executed with broad brush around the shoulder and the middle of the body. There is a band of a single line around the mouth and another around near the bottom. There is the artist’s signature “yû” on the eye. There is no foot but unglazed ring around the bottom; the eye is glazed.Primary Object Classification Ceramic Primary Object TypevaseAdditional Object Classification(s)Decorative ArtsCollection AreaAsianRights
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ceramics (object genre)