Nabeshima Ware-Designs that Inspire Pride at Suntory Museum of Art (Tokyo, Japan)

Nabeshima Ware-Designs that Inspire Pride
Suntory Museum of Art
11 August – 11 October 2010

The Nabeshima kiln, run by the Nabeshima family for Kyushu’s Saga Clan, was Japan’s preeminent kiln in the service of a feudal domain, producing ceramic work for more than 200 years during the Edo period. Its high quality tableware, which was presented as gifts to the Tokugawa Shogunate household and to feudal lords, consisted primarily of blue-on-white underglaze porcelains, stylish overglaze polychrome enamels, and Celadon ware; these still charm viewers today with their elegant, attractive designs.The pieces produced, whilst continually striving for novel designs, always retained the sense of nobility and clarity associated with Nabeshima.
The current exhibition presents characteristic pieces to give the audience an overview of Nabeshima pottery-making history, from its inception and development through to the end of the Edo Period. We then focus particularly on Nabeshima plates of the kiln’s most glorious and creative period from the mid 17th through to the mid 18th century, providing an extensive display of work highlighting various aspects of Nabeshima’s fascinating designs: their composition, coloring, technique and subject matter, which constitute the core elements of their distinctive elegance. 
Then in the expansive space of the 3rd floor gallery we exhibit the work of Imaizumi Imaemon, 14th generation of the Imaizumi potters’ family that provided its expertise as polychrome enamel painters working for the Nabeshima kiln. His pots continue to evolve today while conveying the technique and spirit of the Iro-Nabeshima, the colored Nabeshima ceramics.

Suntory Museum of Art