Hamada Shoji (1894-1978)

Large bowl with sugarcane motif, iron oxide overglaze
12.3 x 19.5 x 19.5 cm
4 ¾ x 7⅝ x 7⅝ inches
Box signed and sealed by Hamada
This large, satisfying bowl displays Hamada’s classic broken sugarcane patterned brushwork on pale and pink-mottled stoneware. Hamada’s compound in Mashiko often bustled with family members, workers and guests, and at meal times the long table would be filled with such handsome plates and bowls. This bowl displays one of Hamada’s most well known designs. Hamada’s longtime friend and collaborator Yanagi Soetsu sometimes teased Hamada at his habit of repeating patterns, but Yanagi also wrote admiringly of Hamada’s stem-leaf design; he said:

It can be found again and again on his bowls, vases, plates, jars and tea cups, and some may wonder at the repetition of an identical design by such a creative individual. For Hamada, however, the design is fresh no matter how often he uses it. Each rendition is new and vigorous, for it is a perpetual pattern which is the same, and yet not the same. Without beginning or end, it is beyond time and place. …It has become as much a part of him as his arm, changing and developing with him. More than anything else, it is Hamada himself.
Yanagi S. 1966, p. 4. Shoji Hamada. Tokyo: Asahi Shimbun.
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