The element of fire is essential for the creation of two of Japan's oldest and most enduring art forms, ink painting and ceramics. Fired Up: Ink Painting and Contemporary Ceramics from Japan
unites these two art forms in a display of works spanning a period of 400 years and features objects infrequently exhibited at the Museum.
Ink painting, inspired by Chinese practices, flourished in Japan within Zen monasteries during the 14th century and continues to be a beloved art form today. Ink is made partially from soot, usually obtained by burning pinewood or oil in an anoxic, or reduced-oxygen, furnace. Presented in this exhibition are scrolls dating from 16th to the early 20th century, including Tanomura Chokunyū
's Three Friends of Summer
from the Meiji period
, which offers a refreshing and richly symbolic scene painted in loose brushstrokes.
Flame is also fundamental to the creative process for ceramics. Artists fire soft, brittle clay at temperatures reaching up to 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit, causing clay particles to melt and fuse together, thus making the clay body watertight. Fired Up
draws on the works of contemporary ceramic artists, including Koike Shōko
, one of the first female studio potters to make a living from her art.
is curated by Rhiannon Paget
, who recently completed a two-and-a-half year term as the Museum's Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art.
[RIGHT] Tanomura Chokunyū, Japanese, 1814–1907; Three Friends of Summer (Shōka sanyū zu), 1903; Meiji period (1868–1912); hanging scroll: ink on silk; William K. Bixby Trust for Asian Art 141:1987