KOYAMA FUJIO (1900-1975)
Slightly flattened vase with comb patterning and extensive glaze cracking
Glazed stoneware with original box
8 1/2 x 7 5/8 x 6 1/2 in.
Potter’s mark: Kosanshi (incised on base)
Box Title: Hori-hakeme hen tsubo; comb-patterned jar
Signed: Kosanshi (on cover)
Sealed: Akino (inside cover)
Exhibited: Koyama Fujio Sakuhinten. Tokyo: Mitsukoshi Art gallery, 1976.
A respected scholar of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, Koyama Fujio (1900-1975) was also an accomplished ceramist in his own right. After working as a researcher of antique pottery at the Oriental Ceramics Institute, he was employed at the Tokyo Teishitsu Museum (predecessor of the Tokyo National Museum) and was appointed to evaluate and rank Intangible Cultural Properties of the Bunkacho. In the 1950s, he was instrumental in establishing the Living National Treasure system. In a scheme perpetrated by Katō Tōkurō to discredit him, Koyama was forced to resign his curatorial position. It was only then that he rediscovered his passion for making ceramics. He built his first kiln in Toki in 1972 and created a remarkable range of work using kilns in Kyoto, Shigaraki, Mino, Bizen, Hagi, Tobe, and Karatsu.
This comb-patterned, slightly-flattened vase demonstrates the convergence of Koyama's vast scholarship with his artistic viewpoint. Its shape recalls a classical form, and the hakeme glaze gradates from subtle gray to white as it descends down the neck and body; the surface patterning is both calligraphic and abstract. Comparing this vase to others in his oeuvre, it is remarkable that the same artist could masterfully create works in such a range of styles and glazes in such a brief period.
For similar works:
Tō no shijin: Koyama Fujio no me to waza (Poet of Ceramics: Koyama Fujio's Discerning Eyes and Skills). Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha, 2003. p. 88, pl. 71.
Hayashiya, Seizō, ed. Gendai nihon no tōgei, dai nanamaki: dentō to sōzō no ishō (Contemporary Japanese Ceramics, vol. 7: Designs of Tradition and Creation). Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1984, p. 34, pl. 1.