From November 12 to 27, 2021, HULS Gallery Tokyo in Akasaka held an exhibition of works by Shinji Terauchi, the fourth generation head of Arita ware kiln, Riso Porcelain. This was the third exhibition of Shinji’s works held at the gallery. Although Shinji as the head of the kiln is usually involved in the production process, this exhibition focused on unique new works created on the potter’s wheel, such as matcha bowls, hohin handle-less tea pots, guinomi sake cups, and vases, as well as sometsuke (blue and white porcelain) and white porcelain works. In addition, it is particularly noteworthy that all the works were produced using only Izumiyama porcelain stone as their raw material. In returning to the origins of Arita ware, Shinji has his eyes fixed firmly on the future of this renowned production area.
Arita was the first porcelain production area in Japan, with its origins from the discovery of Izumiyama porcelain stone in the early 17th century. Although Izumiyama porcelain stone contributed greatly to the development of Arita ware for the next 200 years, today it is no longer used due to its difficulty of handling, and most modern Arita ware is created from Amakusa porcelain stone.
It is within this context that Shinji came to reconsider the meaning of using local materials. If Arita ware is not made using local materials, he reasoned, can it really be called Arita ware? What is the unique value of Arita ware that can be passed on to the next generation? “Now that the world has been reset by the new coronavirus, it is time to return to the origin. I want to use this as a starting point to create a new Arita ware in the future,” Shinji says with serious eyes.
The charm of Shinji’s sometsuke works stems from the profound and lovely painting that brings us joy simply from looking at them. You can see this clearly when you look into his guinomi sake cups. In contrast, the hohin handle-less teapot, which was made with every pour in mind, and the miniature katakuchi lipped bowl, which can be used for a wide range of purposes, were also well received by visitors for their precise functionality. While the clay used for the works is all Izumiyama porcelain stone, by constantly refining both the mix of transparent and gosu cobalt blue glazes and the firing method, each piece obtains a unique and rich expression. Shinji’s passion for Arita ware seems to be reflected in every brush stroke of painting and fingerprint of glazing, which are inspired by Old Imari and reminiscent of the potters of that time.
Written by Kyoko Tsutsumi