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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

Hamada Shoji (1894-1978)

Pot c.1970-75

RCIN 68402

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Hamada Shōji (1894–1978) was a leading artist-potter and a pioneer of the early twentieth-century Japanese Folk Craft movement, Mingei. Central to this tradition is an emphasis on handmade rather than mass-produced objects, created by craftsmen working close to nature using simple techniques.

This thickly-potted square vessel is typical of Hamada’s work, which is marked by a solidity of form and generous glaze. Here, his rich kaki (literally ‘persimmon’) glaze is interspersed with mottled and gritty sand-coloured patches, outlined in lively brushstrokes of bluish-green. Hamada applied the thick pigments following the tradition of the small pottery-making village of Mashiko, 100 miles north of Tokyo, where he lived: using a homemade brush fashioned from the long, coarse hair at the back of a dog’s neck.

The vessel was presented to Queen Elizabeth II by Prime Minister Miki Takeo during her State Visit to Japan in May 1975.