chapter  11
11 Pages

Found in translation

Ceramics and social change
WithTanya Harrod

Makuzu Kozan’s Vase in the Form of Two Polar Bears Inside a Cave is on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Japanese Gallery. By contrast, Vase in the Form of Two Polar Bears Inside a Cave was, confusingly, a Japanese object inspired by the study of contemporary Royal Copenhagen ceramics. Kozan’s lidded vase on an elephant base, presented to the museum by Lieutenant-Colonel Kenneth Dingwall DSO, was equally eclectic, owing something to Chinese export wares and to Sevres. The East-West interactions become complex and unexpected. Matsubayashi’s technical understanding did not fit with Bernard Leach’s own Orientalist vision of Japan. A group of American, British, Japanese, and Korean scholars interrogates Japanese ceramics from a Japanese perspective. The issues raised in Ceramics and Modernity in Japan recast understanding of Japanese ceramics, as well as offering a framework applicable to all cultures in a process of transition.