Arthur M Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art - The National Museum of Asian Art - Smithsonian Institution
Exhibitions exhibitions list > online exhibitions

The Decorative Modes of the Kenzan Style
In Kenzan's day, Japanese potters delighted their knowledgeable customers by making pieces that copied features of established ceramic wares and also showed off the potter's own skill and distinctive flair. These "copies with a difference" (utsushi) created an interesting dynamic between the imagined model and the imaginative reinterpretation. Ogata Kenzan's copies, reflecting his fascination with painted design, paid particular attention to decorated types of ceramics from China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Holland, as well as to the Japanese wares known as Oribe and Karatsu. Such wares were not contemporary but antique, dating back to at least one century before Kenzan. By the early nineteenth century, Kenzan ware itself had achieved classic status and become a focus of utsushi production.

Click to enlarge
click to enlarge