Kogei Seika vol.10
Published in 2018 by Shinchosha, Tokyo
A4 in size, linen cloth coverd book with endpaper made of Japanese paper (kozo)
184 pages of colour plates, with a piece of toile de jouy on frontispage
Each chapter is accompanied by an English summary
Limited edition of 1200
12,000 yen (excluding tax)

To purchase please click

1|川瀬敏郎の花 唐物籠
Ikebana by Toshiro Kawase: Flowers in Chinese Antique Baskets



The theme of Ikebana in this issue, by Toshiro Kawase born in 1948, is Chinese antique baskets (Karamono-kago). They are baskets originally introduced from Ming dynasty China to Japan in the Muromachi period (1336─1573), inspiring many types of Japanese versions, including peony baskets, eared baskets, and baskets with a handle. Because their weave is so exquisite, they are said to be the finest of the kind. Accordingly, those baskets should be placed in special settings, for which Kawase has chosen the zashiki (Japanese-style tatami room) of the Sugimotos’ house (1870), one of the best traditional Machiya buildings in Kyoto.

While arranging flowers, Kawase repeatedly mentioned the word ‘freedom’ of the flowers in those antique baskets. Since they are of the finest quality, there is no room for personal feelings, or something unstable, to intervene, and he felt as though he was entering the state of selflessness and innocence. (S)

2|坂田和實の眼 酒袋
The Eye of Kazumi Sakata: Sake bags

東京目白にある古道具坂田の坂田和實さん(一九四五年生れ)は、千葉県長南町にある美術館 as it isの館主でもあります。二〇一五年から翌年にかけての展示で、壁にぐるりと貼られていたのが四、五十枚の酒袋でした。明治大正ごろのもので、酒や醤油を醸造するさいにを入れて圧搾するための袋です。くりかえしつかってやぶれたところにツギをあてています。前章(唐物籠の花)では無心や無私という語が願望として語られるのですが、これらの袋はすでにそこに達しているようにみえます。すでに「花」のようです。


Kazumi Sakata born in 1945, the owner of ‘Antique shop Sakata’ in Mejiro, Tokyo, is also the owner of the museum ‘as it is’ in Chonan, Chiba. As part of its ‘permanent’ exhibition from 2015 to 2016, forty to fifty ‘sake’ bags were displayed on the wall. Those were from the Meiji and Taisho periods (1868─1926) and were used in the production process of sake (Japanese rice wine) or soy sauce: main fermenting mash were pressed and filtered in those bags. Through repeated use, those bags become tattered, but they were patched and re-used. Just as the selfless innocence of flowers in the Chinese antique baskets in the preceding chapter, these ‘sake’ bags seemed to have reached such a state. To me they are like ‘flowers’.

This chapter also includes two articles on Kazumi Sakata, if not directly related to ‘sake’ bags. One is by Takashi Takagi, the owner of ‘Antique Kurihachi’ in Roppongi, Tokyo, taken from his blog entry about the exhibition of Sakata held in Shoto Museum in 2012. The other is newly written by Takao Takaki, the owner of Japanese craft shop ‘foucault++’ in Fukuoka. (S)

3|スイスのロマネスク シオンのノートルダム・ド・ヴァレール聖堂
Romanesque Art in Switzerland, Basilique Notre-Dame de Valère



It has been more than a decade since I began travelling around Europe to visit Romanesque churches (almost every trip was made to produce books and articles with Momo Kanazawa, an art historian, and Minoru Ozawa, a historian), but this was my first visit to Switzerland. We drove through the German-speaking, Italian-speaking, and French-speaking regions. The country was much more mountainous than I had imagined.

In this issue, the article is on Sion, in the south west part of Switzerland, the French-speaking region. There we visited the basilica of Notre-Dame de Valère on top of a rock mountain. (There was another rock mountain next to it, and on top of it, there is a ruin of a Romanesque castle.) The church was built in the first half of the twelfth century, but the building was largely renovated during the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries. We were thrilled to find the rare examples of medieval wooden furniture, such as the chests used in the church. (S)

To Cherish Beside Me:
The Private Collection of Antique Ceramics from Joseon Dynasty





The book To Cherish Beside Me: The Private Collection of Antique Ceramics from the Joseon Dynasty by Takeji Nakagawa (1899─1994), a collector of ceramics of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, was published in 1971 as a catalogue of his own collection. A limited edition of 700 copies was produced for private circulation. For this book he chose one hundred ceramics from his collection built up over around forty years and wrote a short essay for each item.

In the introduction of the book, he recalls his old days: ‘At the time, not many people collected antique ceramics from the Joseon Dynasty. They were appreciated neither by curators of National Museums and upper-class people, nor by antique dealers who considered them to be unworthy of their attention. So, I could acquire terrific items, sometimes at around three to five yens, prices well within the reach of a young white-collar like myself. It was such a joy to collect ceramics of the Joseon Dynasty in those days.’

As we all know, the Joseon porcelain came to be highly appreciated, and at the same time, the price of his book itself, craved by collectors of the ceramics as an indispensable reference, dramatically soared in the antiquarian book market (the reprinted edition was published in 2015 from Seigetsusha). The collection of Nakagawa was out in the antique market before his death and the ones discussed in the book are inevitably popular.

Seven ceramics from the book, all of which are from the Museum Richo, in Arashiyama, Kyoto, appear in this chapter. (S)

5|黒田泰蔵 白磁と轆轤
Taizo Kuroda: White Porcelain and a Potter’s Wheel

陶芸家の黒田泰蔵さんは一九四六年滋賀県生れ、二〇歳で渡仏し、パリの日本食レストランではたらいていたときに客としておとずれた益子の陶芸家島岡達三と出会い、その縁でカナダの陶芸家ゲータン・ボーダンに師事、やきものをはじめます(一九六七年)。〈「これを一生やるかもしれない」/僕は轆轤に夢中になっていた〉(『黒田泰蔵 白磁へ』)



The book To Cherish Beside Me: The Private Collection of Antique Ceramics from the Joseon Dynasty by Takeji Nakagawa (1899─1994), a collector of ceramics of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, was published in 1971 as a catalogue of his own collection. A limited edition of 700 copies was produced for private circulation. For this book he chose one hundred ceramics from his collection built up over around forty years and wrote a short essay for each item.

Taizo Kuroda is a ceramic artist born in Shiga in 1946. At the age of twenty, he went to Paris. While working in a Japanese restaurant, he met Tatsuzo Shimaoka, a famous potter from Mashiko, who gave him a chance to train under Gaétan Beaudin, a ceramic artist from Canada. Thus his carrier as a potter began in 1967. In his book Taizo Kuroda: Towards White Ceramics, he recalls those days: ‘I thought I might as well end up devoting my life to it’; ‘I was obsessed with “the potter’s wheel”’.

In 1981, he returned to Japan and settled in Matsuzaki on the west coast of Izu Peninsula. His white ceramics painted with red, yellow, and green became popular, but he recollects that time and writes: ‘I was always wondering “There is something wrong, even false about the whole thing”’; ‘What is it that I really want to do? I questioned myself repeatedly, thousands and thousands of times, and in the end, I was absolutely sure that I loved white porcelains from the beginning.’ In 1991, he moved his studio to Ito of the peninsula and since 1992, he has concentrated on white porcelains.

He is one of the few craftsmen whose artistic visions truly set themselves apart from others, and is a pioneer of transforming ceramics into sculpture (not vice versa). He is widely renowned in and outside Japan, but Akito Akagi, an artist of Japanese lacquerware and a writer of crafts in Japan, is of the view that Kuroda’s artistic essence has yet been fully explored. In this chapter, Akagi visits Ito and comes up with his new views on Kuroda. (S)

Fragments on Robert Coutelas 4




This is the fourth part of a biography of a French artist Robert Coutelas (1930─85) by a writer, Toshiyuki Horie.

The previous issue was on Horie’s visit to Thiers in Auvergne where the painter spent his youth. He lived there with his stepfather. While working in a spinning mill, he collected old folkcrafts and began making wood sculptures himself. However, his stepfather’s denial of his passion in Art led him to two suicide attempts.

In this issue, the story moved on to the time when Coutelas left his stepfather’s house and started to live alone in Clermont-Ferrand, also in Auvergne. (S)

On My Antique Collection






This chapter is on the antique collection of Yasuki Fujita (born in 1962), a director of the Theater Company ARICA. For Fujita, ‘To collect antiques is to dream the drama of human existence through those objects. For me, it is like being moved by a performance in a theatre.’

A chat with an editor led to this chapter. Upon his visit to the Fujita’s, he noticed that ‘the room was full of books and antique objects’. ‘I do not know much about the antiques but most of them were figures. They were conspicuous even to a non-antique lover like me.’

When I visited, his place was exactly as my friend described. When I told him that, surprisingly, Fujita was not particularly aware of that. The theme of the article is ‘Antique, Body, and Children’.

He writes, ‘We, ARICA, value most the physical performance. We value the physicality of an actor and it expand, transform and develop dramatically, using peculiar objects and extraordinary stage sets. Our performance is in a way playful and it has something in common with the vivacity of infants innocently absorbed in their play.’

In this article, I would like him to engage with the question, ‘Why do we collect antiques?’, and expand and renew answers to it. (S)

Museums on My Mind 6



The architect, Yoshifumi Nakamura’s visit to his favourite museums continues. In this issue, we went to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in the region of Basque, north of Spain. The museum opened in 1997, designed by Frank Gehry, born in 1929. Its permanent collection exhibits the art works by Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Sam Francis, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, and Louise Bourgeois. The Guggenheim Foundation in U.S. is renowned for their collection of modern art and runs museums in New York City (built in 1959) and in Venice (built in 1979).

Before our visit, I had my doubts about the combination of the architect renowned for building ‘ordinary houses’ and the museum in the shape of ‘the scrunched up aluminium foil’ (description by Nakamura), but now I am convinced why he chose it. The museum exhibits the monumental piece by Richard Serra, born in 1979, one of the favourite sculptors of Nakamura. The article must be rewarding to the reader in that aspect as well. (S)

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