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Akira Yamada Pottery Exhibition
Deep into Shojohi Pursuing the Origin of Vessels


The more knowledge and experience one has, the more unbelievable it is that these wares of a deep, rich red color are pottery. Indeed, pottery in such a stunning red is highly unusual. Akira Yamada, a Kyoto-born potter, is the creator of this color which he has named ''Shojohi'' and which has become synonymous of Yamada's work itself.



Shojohi is a color that was first brought to Japan during the late Muromachi period (14-16th century) through trade with Spain and Portugal. Woven wool fabrics from Europe often included a deep red color which was unfamiliar in Japan during those days. Shojo is the name of a legendary creature from ancient China. A Shojo has the face and voice of young human boy with a body looking like that of dog or a monkey covered with red hair. A Shojo's blood is said to be an even deeper red and this is why they named such a deep red color ''Shojohi (lit. Red of Shojo).'' Shojo often appears in the traditional theatre art of Japan, such as Noh theatre plays and Kabuki.



Yamada's pottery works are purely Shojohi red only or combined with black. The secret of achieving this unusual color requires tremendous time and effort: first, formed porcelain clay is carefully polished with sandpaper both before and after the biscuit firing. Then, it is painted with the red or black color followed by a glost firing. Again, paint is applied and the piece is fired once more. This whole process is repeated three times and finally, the extraordinary Shojohi color with its silky touch to soothe the senses is created.



Yamada's works are definitely contemporary but somewhat also primitive. This comes from Yamada's concept of vessels which he says ''is an object which creates a 'border' -between myself and others, in and out, here and there. It's such a primary and ethnological concept which doesn't question which religion and culture one belongs to.'' Meet Yamada's Shojohi, born from pursuing the ''origin'' of vessels, this winter for a truly unforgettable artistic experience.


Akira Yamada Exhibition: December 23-January 10 (Closed: Tue. & Jan. 1-3); At Rokurokudo.


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