Ceramics and Modernity in Japan: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ceramics and Modernity in Japan

1st Edition

Edited by Meghen M. Jones, Louise Allison Cort


272 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367143305
pub: 2019-08-31
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During Japan’s most dramatic period of modernization, between 1868 and 1970 (the Meiji to mid-Shōwa eras), ceramics asserted meanings as avant-garde art, embodiments of tradition, preservations of folk culture, and commodities signifying the technical acumen of the nation. As in other parts of the world, ceramics in modern Japan developed along the three ontological trajectories of art, craft and design. Yet no other modern nation was engaged with ceramics as much as Japan—a "potter’s paradise"—in terms of creation, exhibition, and discourse. How did Japanese ceramics achieve such a status? Why were ceramics such significant forms of Japanese cultural production?

Ceramics and Modernity in Japanoffersa set of critical perspectives on the creation, patronage, circulation, and preservation of ceramics in this period. The volume’s medium-specific focus encourages exploration of issues regarding materials and practice unique to ceramics, including the distinct role of ceramics throughout Japanese cultural history. Going beyond descriptive historical treatments of ceramics as the products of individuals or particular schools, its closely linked essays probe the relationship between ceramics and modernity in Japan, the uses of ceramics as forms of cultural production in Japan, and the ways in which ceramics in modern Japan were related to their counterparts in Asia and Europe.

Table of Contents

1. A Potter’s Paradise: The Realm of Ceramics in Modern Japan, Meghen Jones

Part 1

2. The Development of Celadon Production at the Makuzu Workshop, 1870–1950: Moving towards the Modern, Clare Pollard

3. More than "Western": Porcelain for the Meiji Emperor’s Table, Mary Redfern

Part 2

4. Modernizing Ceramic Form and Decoration: Kyoto Potters and the Teiten, Gisela Jahn

5. Unifying Science and Art: The Kyoto City Ceramic Research Institute (1896–1920) and Ceramic Art Education during the Taisho Era, Shinya Maezaki

Part 3

6. The Spark that Ignited the Flame: 1923, Hamada, Paterson’s Gallery and the Birth of English Studio Pottery, Julian Stair

7. Okuda Seiichi and the New Language of Ceramics in Taisho (1912–1926) Japan, Seung Yeon Sang

8. The Nude, the Empire, and the Porcelain Vessel Idiom of Tomimoto Kenkichi, Meghen Jones

Part 4

9. Veiled References: The Role of Glaze in Japanese Avant-Garde Ceramics, Louise Allison Cort

10. Koyama Fujio’s View of Modern Japanese Ceramics and his Role in the Creation of "Living National Treasures", Kida Takuya


11. Found in Translation: Ceramics and Social Change, Tanya Harrod

About the Editors

Meghen Jones is Assistant Professor of Art History at the New York State College of Ceramics of Alfred University and Academic Associate of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. She was a Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute (2013–2014) and, previously, Teaching Fellow in Japanese Studies at Earlham College (2011–2013) and a Fulbright Fellow based at the Crafts Gallery of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2009–2010). Her research on Japanese ceramics, modern craft, and art in transnational perspective has been published in several journal articles and catalogue texts, and she is currently completing the book manuscript Tomimoto Kenkichi and the Art of Modern Japanese Ceramics. She received a PhD in the History of Art and Architecture from Boston University and an MA in Industrial, Interior, and Craft Design from Musashino Art University.

Louise Allison Cort is Curator for Ceramics at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Her interests include historical and contemporary ceramics in Japan, Southeast Asia, and South Asia, Japanese baskets and textiles, and the Japanese arts of tea (chanoyu). She is the author of Shigaraki, Potters’ Valley, published in 1979 and reprinted in 2000. In 2008 she prepared (with George Ashley Williams IV and David P. Rehfuss) the online catalogue Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia: Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Her study on Indian ritual earthenware, Temple Potters of Puri, was published in 2012. With Andrew M. Watsky, she organized and co-edited Chigusa and the Art of Tea (2014).

About the Series

Routledge Research in Art History

Routledge Research in Art History is our home for the latest scholarship in the field of art history. The series publishes research monographs and edited collections, covering areas including art history, theory, and visual culture. These high-level books focus on art and artists from around the world and from a multitude of time periods. By making these studies available to the worldwide academic community, the series aims to promote quality art history research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ART / Ceramics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies