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Mashiko: The Making of a Modern Pottery Tradition in Japan -- A Personal View

Mashiko: The Making of a Modern Pottery Tradition in Japan -- A Personal View

The Seventh Annual Michele Berton memorial Lecture on Japanese Art by Fred G. Notehelfer at LA County Museum of Art

Sunday, December 05, 2004
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Dorothy Collins Brown Auditorium
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Mashiko: The Making of a Modern Pottery Tradition in Japan -- A Personal View

by Fred G. Notehelfer, Director of the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies

The development of Japanese pottery has been advanced at various kiln sites over the ages. Many of the best-known kilns, such as Seto, Shigaraki, Tamba, and Bizen, date to early Japanese history. By contrast, the modern Japanese pottery tradition is not as familiar to the Western art community. In ceramics as in other fields, Japan constantly reshaped its tradition. Mashiko wares, named for the town in Tochigi prefecture, represent an interesting example of such transformation. relatively recent -- established only during the latter half of the nineteenth century -- Mashiko pottery experienced major changes under the influence of Hamada Shoji and the MIngei (folk crafts) movement in the 1920s and 1930s. What emerged was a Mashiko style that came to symbolize modern Japanese ceramics to the outside world. While artists such as Hamada and Shimaoka Tatsuzo are familiar abroad as "Living National Treasures," much less well-known is the remarkable group of potters who were associated with and influenced by Hamada. For many Japanese, these men were equally important in the life of Mashiko.

Part of Mashiko's appeal stemmed from its rejection of the closed policies of earlier kilns, such as Tamba and Bizen, which forced traditional styles on new practitioners. Under Hamada's leadership, Mashiko celebrated an open approach that encouraged outsides, even Westerners, to settle there and develop their own forms of ceramic expression. In this lecture, Dr. Notehelfer will focus on mashiko, the Mingei movement, and several potters who helped to create modern Mashiko ceramics. This lecture is a very personal view that has been shaped by Dr. Notehelfer's own involvement with Mashiko and its artists.

Cost: Free

Special Instructions

Seating is limited. RSVP to the Museum by November 29 at (323) 857-6565.

  • For a slideshow of images from the lecture: Mashiko Slideshow
  • For more information please contact

    Mariko Bird
    Tel: 310-825-8681

    Sponsor(s): Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, LACMA

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