I bookmarked the ceramic piece above a couple of years ago, intending to research the artist and write a post. But somehow, the draft got buried, and I had all but forgotten about it. Then, while trying to find the bathroom at the Met a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across the very same, instantly-recognizable piece. Immediately struck by the power and shocking beauty of the piece, I resolved to go home and find the draft. I’m so glad I did!
Born in 1939, Miyashita Zenji was the grandson of a distinguished Kyoto porcelain artist after whom he was named. Young Zenji quickly made a name for himself among ceramicists and won international renown for his signature ombre effect, created using a Japanese technique called saidei in which colored clay is added to the surface of a vessel in stages to create a layered appearance. His finished pieces resemble distant mountains and sunsets and ocean horizons.
“In each work, my intention is to create a delightful musical performance––a harmony of color blending with a restrained sense of the clay ––becoming a canvas for evocative tranquil landscapes.”
Although the artist died in 2012, Zenji left a strong legacy in his beautiful, iconic vessels and sculptures. His pieces can be viewed in countless museums and galleries across the world.