Robert’s Book – Ode to Japanese Pottery

Book Details:

Title: Ode to Japanese Pottery, Sake Cups and Flasks
Author: Robert Lee Yellin
Hardcover: 208 pages
Dimensions: 22.7 x 18.2 x 2 cm
Photos: All color photography, 62 pages
Photography: Yoshihide Minato and Hiroya Yoshimori
Language: English
Publisher: Coherence Inc.
ISBN: 4-907731-05-1
Price: US $49.50


Sake cups and flasks by approximately 100 modern and contemporary potters. Main text by Robert Yellin, with additional text by Wahei Aoyama entitled “A Brief History of Sake Vessels.” Book includes a detailed glossary of terms, and hand-painted calligraphy and artwork by various artists. This book is the English version of Yakimono Sanka by Robert Yellin, first published in Japanese in 1995 by Kogei Shuppan. Yakimono Sanka was recommended by the Japanese Library Association for inclusion into all Japanese public libraries.


book-pagesIn the world of Japanese pottery lie the aesthetic sensibilities of traditional Japanese culture. Robert L. Yellin, ceramic art columnist for The Japan Times, delivers in this detailed volume his insights into modern and contemporary Japanese pottery, in particular ceramic sake cups and flasks.

Originally written in 1995 for a Japanese audience, Ode to Japanese Pottery is an ideal introduction to those unacquainted to Japanese pottery, and a welcome asset to the libraries of Japanese ceramic art collectors and connoisseurs. The volume exhibits various styles of Japanese pottery, namely Bizen, Shigaraki, and Shino wares. Above all, Ode to Japanese Pottery gives the reader a grasp of the unique and delicate aesthetics of Japan, an aesthetic that has long captivated artists and art lovers the world over.


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Excerpt from “Ode to Japanese Pottery,” page 40

Isezaki Yozan — Tokkuri of Eternity
Isezaki Yozan (1902 – 1961) was a Bizen potter renowned for his sculptured pieces. He was designated an Okayama Prefecture Intangible Cultural Property in 1954. I have only come across one of his pieces on all my journeys (his pieces are quite rare). However, it is this tokkuri that I feel most closely gives me a glimpse of things eternal or ‘mugen’ in Japanese. This tokkuri is so simple in its appearance that it is almost deceiving; yet within its form are colors and a depth that refreshes the spirit. It is a piece that takes time to appreciate, like a good piece of music or a cherished friend. It is only with frequent contact and after a period of time that we can begin to comprehend the wisdom inherent within. This piece was fired with a cup or bowl over its neck (kabuse-yaki), which gives the effect of a ring around the shoulder.

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