Celadon (called "seiji" in Japanese) is a reduction-fired glazed ware that originated in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1270) and thereafter spread quickly across Asia. Experts say that the best celadons the world has ever seen are from China's 12th-13th century Southern Sung Dynasty -- pieces made by the court-sanctioned imperial kilns of Chiao-t'an. These wares are known as Kuan Ware (Kuan means official).
Of all styles of Japanese pottery, celadon is one of the most difficult to master. An extremely high loss rate of up to 80% means that most potters shy away from this style. Japan boasts the most diverse styles of ceramic art in the world today, yet those successfully working in celadon can be counted on one hand. Among them is Seiko Minegishi (1952 to Present). See his photos at right.
Minegishi excels in a decorative technique called shinogi. It's where he carves deep lines into the reduction-fired ware before applying a thick seiji glaze. The sharply cut low relief ridges allow for the glaze to pool and form concentric circles. Minegishi has also successfully reproduced the Kuan-style kanyu (the beautiful deep crackles) that appear like layers of onions, overlapping upon the powder blue or soft green celedon surface, forming wonderful glass-like geometric etchings.
Click images to
see larger photos