The Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art

Special Exhibition The Dramatic Vessel

Ceramic vessels are created and used in daily life all over the world. The vessel is truly a symbol of ceramics. In contemporary ceramic art, the vessel has also moved beyond a purely functional role to become an expressive theme for ceramic beauty.

In England Bernard Leach pioneered the pursuit of a fusion of function and beauty. Lucie Rie and others followed, broadening the role of the vessel from the realm of simple function to one of fascination and beauty. In the postwar era, each country took its own path; along with the individuality of the artists, the character of each culture is reflected in the vessels created.

In this exhibition, we hope you will be able to experience the dramatic beauty expressed in vessels created by the world’s ceramic artists.

Scene 1   From Vessels to Beauty / England

Bernard Leach / Lucie Rie / Hans Coper / Alison Britton / Elizabeth Fritsch / Carol McNicoll / Grayson Perry / Dorothy Feibleman / Ken Eastman / Angus Suttie / Gordon Baldwin / Mary Rogers / Martin Smith / Ewen Henderson / Richard Slee / Lawson Oyekan / Sarah Scampton / Karen Densham / Jennifer Lee

Scene 2   The Beauty of Plans / United States

Peter Voulkos / Rudy Autio / Warren MacKenzie / Marilyn Levine / Kenneth Price / Ron Nagle / Adrian Saxe / Ralph Bacerra / Rudolf Staffel / Betty Woodman / Adam Silverman

 Scene 3   Utility x Art – Teapots / United States, Canada

Philip Cornelius / Ann Kraus / Beatrice Wood / Akio Takamori / Richard Notkin / Harris Deller / Jerry Berta / John de Fazio / Lidya Buzio / Chris Gustin / Cindy Kolodziejski / James Lawton / Anthony Bennett / Steven Montgomery / Amy Sabrina / Kurt Weiser / Leopold Foulem / Paul Mathieu

Scene 4   Homage to Still Life Artist Morandi / Australia

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott

Scene 5   Scandinavia – Ceramics and Design / Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway

Bente Hansen(Denmark) / Bodil Manz(Denmark) / Morten Løbner Espersen(Denmark) / Inger Rokkjӕr(Denmark) / Arne Åse(Norway) / Stig Lindberg(Sweden) / Birger Kaipiainen(Finland) / Pekka Paikkari(Finland) / Kati Tuominen-Niittylä(Finland) / Heini Riitahuhta (Finland)

Scene 6   The Beauty of Clay, the Beauty of Glaze / Spain, Switzerland

Claudi Casanovas(Spain) / Eduard Chapallaz(Switzerland)

Scene 7   Vessel Imagination / Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Czechoslovakia

Babs Haenen(Netherlands) / Irene Vonck(Netherlands) / Barbara Nanning(Netherlands) / Astrid Gerhartz(Germany) / Ursula Scheid(Germany) / Jochen Brandt(Germany) / Vladimir Groh + Yasuyo Nishida(Czech Republic) / Rosemarie Benedikt(Austria) / Philippe Barde(Switzerland) / Ingrid Alik(Estonia)

Scene 8   Vessels Projecting Identity / Taiwan, Ghana

Ching Yuan, Chang(Taiwan)  / James Kwame Amoah(Ghana)

Scene 9   The Quiet Beauty of Vessels, the Magic of Technique / Japan

Tomimoto Kenkichi / Hamada Shoji / Tokuda Yasokichi / Ogawa Machiko / Yagi Akira / Kimura Yoshiro / Nagae Shigekazu / Yamada Akira / Kondo Takahiro / Kuwata Takuro / Niisato Akio / Fukumoto Fuku / Koyama Kenichi


Rudolf Staffel
“Light Gatherer”

Irene Vonck
“Curacao Collection”
own by Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu


Special Exhibition “The Colorful World of Ceramics”
Tuesday, June 20 – Sunday, September 24, 2017

From ancient times, colors have stimulated our senses and had a great influence on the culture of each generation and geographical region. In ceramic art, a rich world of color is achieved by firing clay and glaze. Along with form and pattern, color is an indispensable element of the fascination of ceramic art. Everyone has their own feelings about colors. Through the colorful expressions of contemporary ceramics, we are able to receive the various messages artists communicate in their work. In this exhibition, we explore the rich world of color in the works from our collection created by contemporary ceramic artists from Japan and around the world, explaining materials and techniques along the way.


Ugo Nespolo
“Tosto & Arrosto”

Miyashita, Zenji


Special Exhibition “Stylish Old Imari – Pottery Designed to Edo Tastes”
Sunday, October 1 – Sunday, December 17, 2017

 The first porcelain to be fired in Japan, Old Imari ware originated about 400 years ago in Hizen Arita (present-day Arita-cho, Nishimatsuura-gun, Saga Prefecture). At first the use of porcelain ware was restricted to the upper classes, but in the 19th century it spread to common people, particularly in the cities. At the same time, the Genroku culture that originated in Kyoto and Osaka reached Edo in the 19th century. A free and flamboyant culture of the common class, exemplified by kabuki and ukiyo-e, came into vogue with people enjoying the “stylish” Edo culture. It was in this period that the basics of modern Japanese cuisine were established, giving rise to a variety of pottery, not only for daily life but as accoutrements for more ostentatious parties as well. In this exhibition we introduce the public for the first time to a collection of old Imari ware, focusing on the stylish ware favored by the people of Edo and the surprising world of design to be found there.


18 century the previous fiscal year
©Toyama Takayuki

19 century the previous fiscal year
©Toyama Takayuki


Special Exhibition “Feeling the Jazz Spirit – The Ceramic Art of Kumakura Junkichi and 21st Century Artists”
Saturday, March 10 – Sunday, June 17, 2018

For avant-garde ceramic art, the postwar era was a time of energetic artists eagerly looking toward a new generation. Kumakura Junkichi was one of these artists; absorbing the spirit of his time in jazz music, art, and the warmth of handmade objects, he created a variety of works. This exhibition introduces the vessels and sculptural work of Kumakura Junkichi, who, in a time of high interest in craft design, was influenced greatly by the stimulation he found in the pottery town of Shigaraki as he sought to bring about a new era in ceramic art. We also present the work of young contemporary artists who, exposed to Kumakura’s spirit, are reexamining the 21st century as they create their work.


KUMAKURA, Junkichi
In the late 1950s


Juried Exhibition “The Meijer/Shigaraki Award: Tradition and Innovation – Japanese Ceramics Now”
Saturday, March 12 – Sunday, June 12, 2016

This juried exhibition is a joint project of the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park and the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, commemorating the friendly ties between Shiga Prefecture and the State of Michigan. The exhibition comes to the Ceramic Cultural Park upon its triumphant return from America. We will feature 26 works selected from among 285 entries by a panel of jurors from Japan and the United States, ranging from explorations of beauty through traditional techniques to works that challenge the limits of ceramic expression. By introducing the variety of contemporary Japanese ceramic art, we also hope to provide a window into its future.

The Meijer/Shigaraki Award winner
octagon box with gold and silver overglazed
artist : Ado Oda
produce year : 2014


The Meijer/Shigaraki gold Award
artist : Kunihiro Akinaga
produce year : 2014


 Special Exhibition
“Inside x Outside – Art Cruise at the Ceramic Cultural Park”
Sunday, June 19 – Friday, September 23, 2016

One of the features of the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park that we are especially proud of is our collection of outdoor sculpture, scattered around the rich natural environment of the park grounds. The space created by the harmony between these works and the scenery of the four seasons is a perfect example of art within nature. In particular, large works created with traditional Shigaraki techniques can be appreciated outdoors in a way that would be impossible inside a museum, giving us a new awareness of the wonder of ceramic art.
The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is known as a creative space with a rich international atmosphere. Artists from around the world seek the opportunity to create their work here as Artists in Residence in the ceramic art center of Shigaraki. Over 1000 artists from 50 countries have worked here so far, and the wide variety of work they have left with us comprises a valuable collection that is a testament to the unique mission of the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.
This exhibition approaches the “inside” and “outside” of a museum as a single field, accentuating the relationship created by each work with its space. Work by the same artist, depending on the space in which it is exhibited, can change in style, technique, and direction. Through the works introduced here by artists who have stayed and worked at the Ceramic Cultural Park over the years, we hope you will be able to experience the Park as an open air museum combining the fascination of art and nature.

◎What an Impact! Feel the energy of earth and fire in ceramics

What drives artists to create their work? Perhaps it is their desire for a world that no one has ever seen before. In particular, large scale works, aware of their relationship to space while boldly expressing the dynamic presence of clay, are powerful manifestations of this desire. Along with the personal images of individual artists, these works also show us glimpses of a latent desire for surprise and emotion.

Shirou Hayami
produce year:2001

The Gate -Cosmo-
Rikizou Kawakami
The Gate -Cosmo-
produce year:2005

◎From a variety of of actions and expressions… let’s peek inside the heart!

From ancient times until the present, human and animal figures have been an important expressive theme in painting and sculpture. In pottery too, humans and animals have been expressed creatively from the time of figurative earthenware and haniwa. In particular, since the 1950s, contemporary ceramic art has undergone a transformation under the influence of trends in modern art, and human and animal motifs have been developed in a wide variety of ways.

The horse inspired by Peter Voulkos
Lisa Larson
The horse inspired by Peter Voulkos
produce year:1966

Sabine Heller
produce year:2001

◎That too, this too? Encountering images of Shigaraki

As one of Japan’s traditional kiln sites since the medieval era, Shigaraki is well known around the world. Artists who have visited the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park have created their own Shigaraki images based on the things and people they encountered here. Whether born and raised in Shigaraki, in other parts of Japan, or in countries around the world, each artist has a different background. In this section we introduce images of Shigaraki from a variety of artists.

Double Neck Vase
Perer Callas
Double Neck Vase
produce year: 1996

Shigaraki Large Vessel
Kiyotsugu Sawa
Shigaraki Large Vessel
produce year:2005

◎How do you use this? The widening world of vessels

As sculptural ceramics develop a wide range of expression under the influence of modern art, ceramic vessels, close to us in daily life, have also undergone a great transformation. Since the 1980s, artists have focused on the shape of the vessel to create unique ceramic expressions. Today the vessel, not necessarily bound to concepts of function, represents one of the directions taken by contemporary ceramic art.

Sound Aspect
Toshiharu Yoshimura
Sound Aspect
produce year: 2013

Vase in SHUUKAJI Style
Kazuhiko Satou
Vase in SHUUKAJI Style
produce year: 2004

◎Unbelievable! This is made of clay?

In the postwar era, ceramic art developed in conjunction with expressive trends in modern art such as painting and sculpture. As artists’ creative impulses branched in many directions, they created a wide range of experimental work, leading to the development of the variety of expressions we see in contemporary ceramic art. Examples of this trend are multimedia works incorporating media other than clay, or highly realistic works that do not seem to be made of clay.

Satoshi Satou
produce year:1982

Daniel Pontoreau
produce year:2009

Special Exhibition
“Jewels of Koto Ware”
Saturday, October 1 – Sunday, December 11, 2016

Koto Ware was born in the later part of the Edo period in Hikone, a castle town with an atmosphere evoking “little Edo.” In Tenpo 13 (1842), Koto became the official kiln of the Hikone clan and entered its golden age. In the brief period until the kiln ceased operation in Bunkyu 2 (1862), high quality stoneware and porcelain was fired there under the tutelage of the clan’s daimyos, Ii Naoaki and Ii Naosuke, who were also known as connoisseurs of fine pottery and art. Among the many new kilns that sprang up across Japan around the end of the Edo period, Koto ware is especially known for its high quality. This exhibition introduces masterpieces of Koto ware from collections around the country, providing a comprehensive picture of the charm of these jewels of ceramic art.


Dish with Flower and Butterfly Design, Overglaze Red and Gold
Late Edo Period(19th century)

Charcoal Brazier with Openwork of Peach Design,Underglaze Blue
Late Edo Period(19th century)

Special exhibition
“Dramatic Vessels”
Saturday, March 11 – Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ceramic artists beginning with Bernard Leach, followed by Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, took the “vessel” from a strictly utilitarian function into the realm of beauty. In countries around the world in the postwar era, the story of the aesthetic transformation of the vessel developed in conjunction with the story of the maturation of modern ceramic art. The beauty that ceramic artists seek to discover in their vessels begins with one pot, then broadens to include the surrounding space, at the same time widening the possibilities and attraction of ceramic art. In this exhibition, we hope visitors will be able to enjoy the variety of expressions of beauty in the vessels of artists from Japan and around the world.


artist :Jennifer Lee

Special Exhibition
Lisa Larson – Scandinavian Figurative Ceramics
Saturday, March 7 – Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lisa Larson is a ceramic artist from the Scandinavian country of Sweden. During the time she worked at the Gustavsberg company, she designed 320 products, including the popular Stora Zoo and Africa series. Her simple, warm and cute animal series continue to be popular with fans around the world even today. This exhibition is the first comprehensive exhibition of Lisa’s work in Japan. Here we introduce some 230 examples of her work including both one-of-a-kind pieces and commercial products.

【since 1950s】


ABC Girls(worked 1958)
Collection Bernhard Svensson
© Lisa Larson/Thomas Carlgren


【since 1960s】


AFRIKA(worked in 1964)
Collection Bernhard Svensson
© Lisa Larson/Thomas Carlgren


【since 1980s】

Sculpture inspired by Stig Lindberg

Sculpture inspired by Stig Lindberg(worked in 1986)
Collection Bernhard Svensson
© Lisa Larson/Thomas Carlgren


【since 1990s】


old couple(worked in 1990s)
Collection Bernhard Svensson
© Lisa Larson/Thomas Carlgren

Special Exhibition
Clay and imagination from six sections
Sunday, June 14 – Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In the 1950s, Okamoto Taro discovered the roots of Japanese beauty in tradition, and declared that art is life itself. Tracing Okamoto’s philosophy in his lively writings on art, this exhibition will explore his work with ceramics in six sections. Transcending time and space, from Jomon earthenware, ceramics made by painters and sculptors, the free-spirited clay work of children, through the works of people liberated by clay, this exhibition will introduce ceramics brimming with energy reflecting the imagination of the creators.


plant pot a dog figure IMAGE
Taro Okamoto
plant pot a dog figure
work in 1954

a study to GIRL
Yoshitomo Nara
a study to GIRL
study in 2011
©Yoshitomo Nara

Special Exhibition
Looking at Shigaraki Ware
Sunday October 4 – Sunday December 13, 2015

Shigaraki ware has been fired continuously since the medieval period. Over this long history, a variety of pottery has been produced here, used and loved by the people of each generation. In this exhibition we will rediscover the fascination of Shigaraki ware by examining the ways in which it has been viewed by people over the generations.


shigaraki「Otsubo」 IMAGE
muromachi era(15th century)

shigaraki「ONIOKE jug inscription : BENI-kanoko」 IMAGE
「ONIOKE jug inscription : BENI-kanoko」

muromachi era-momoyama era(15th century-16th century)

Juried Exhibition
Meijer x Shigaraki Award Tradition and Innovation – Japanese Ceramics Now
Saturday, March 12 – Sunday, June 12, 2016

As part of the sister state exchange program between Shiga and Michigan, this juried exhibition will be presented as a collaboration between the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park and the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In Japan, the dialog between tradition and innovation has given birth to a rich culture of ceramic art. From vessels created with traditional techniques to modern ceramic sculpture, this exhibition will introduce a wide variety of contemporary Japanese ceramic art selected by Japanese and American curators. We hope that visitors will be able to get a view of the future of Japanese ceramics.


Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park(state Michigan United states of America)IMAGE
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Special Exhibition
“British Ceramics – From Bernard Leach to the New Generation”

Saturday, March 8 – Sunday, June 22, 2014

In Japan, Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie are well-known representatives of British ceramic art. But how has ceramic art in Great Britain evolved from the postwar years until the present day?

“English style” and “English innovation” set the development of ceramics in Britain apart from other countries. This is the first exhibition in Japan to introduce the unique contemporary ceramic art of Great Britain.

Highslide JS



Highslide JS



Highslide JS



Highslide JS



Highslide JS



Related events
Gallery Talks:
Tuesday, April 29
Sunday, May 4
Sunday, June 22

Open Studio with Artist Jennifer Lee:
Sunday, April 13, 2:00-3:30 PM

Concurrent Exhibition:
“The Beauty of Shigaraki Ware – Rustic Texture Touched by Fire”

This exhibition introduces the timeless beauty of Shigaraki ware that has fascinated people across the generations, from medieval jars to the work of contemporary artists.


“Amazing Ceramic Art!” Exhibition

Sunday, June 29 – Sunday, September 28, 2014
Ceramics have been loved by all generations in all parts of the world. The fascination of ceramics lies in their rich power of expression, in form, color, pattern, and texture. These characteristics have given rise to a wide culture of ceramics, and brought pleasure to people’s lives in a variety of ways. This exhibition introduces unique ceramics that arouse our curiosity – works old and new, from East and West. As related events, we will hold gallery talks on Sunday, July 20; Sunday, August 17; and Sunday, September 21.

苦難のティーポット 1991年


Joint Exhibition with the Ceramic Network Congress
“What is Ceramic Art? Learning From the Masterpieces of Eight Ceramic Art Museums”

Sunday, October 5 – Sunday, December 14, 2014
No society, old or new, East or West, has incorporated ceramics into daily life as much as Japan. Each area of the country has its own style of pottery with its own special characteristics, enhancing daily activities like eating and drinking tea. In the modern age, artists use ceramics for new forms of expression.

Masterpieces from eight major ceramic art museums across Japan have been assembled for this exhibition. Presenting some 130 works, the exhibition will explore the “A to Z” of ceramics: How are they made? How are they used? What do they express? Visitors to this exhibition will be able to take a virtual journey around the country as they enjoy the variety of ceramics.

縄文土器 深鉢

展覧作品画像-リチャード・ショー ベースボール・ヘッド

展覧作品画像-肥前・有田窯 柿右衛門様式 色絵花鳥文六角壺

Related events
Gallery talks:
Sunday, October 12; Sunday, November 16
Hands-On Appreciation Workshop:
Sunday, November 2
Workshop for the General Public:
Sunday, November 30
We will make pots from clay from three major pottery areas in Japan.

“Lisa Larson – Clay Animals of Sweden”

Saturday, March 7 – Saturday, June 7, 2015
Lisa Larson is a ceramic designer whose animal figures are popular around the world. Lisa was recognized for her talent by renowned Swedish ceramic artist Stig Lindberg in a design competition in 1954, and began working at the Gustavsberg porcelain factory at a young age. While at Gustavsberg she created some 320 designs, among them the popular “Lilla Zoo” and “Africa” series. Her animals are delightful, simple and warm, a reflection of the origins of Scandinavian design that developed in a rich natural environment. This exhibition introduces Lisa’s classic designs along with her lifestyle. This is the first major exhibition of Lisa Larson’s work in Japan.

展覧作品画像-Lions, Afrika 1964, courtesy Gustavsbergs Fabriker
Lisa Larson
Lions, Afrika
1964, courtesy Gustavsbergs Fabriker

Related event
Gallery Talk, Sunday, March 29

Special Exhibition
Contemporary British Ceramic Art – From Bernard Leach to Young Artists

Exhibition Dates
Saturday, March 8 – Sunday, June 22, 2014

This exhibition will introduce the works of masters of British ceramics such as Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, and Alison Britton, along with the work of young artists who have visited the Ceramic Cultural Park.

Square Water Jar, natural ash glaze
Koyama Kiyoko
Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park



Special Exhibition
The Beauty of Shigaraki Ware

Exhibition Dates
Saturday, March 8 – Sunday, June 22, 2014

This exhibition will introduce the work of contemporary artists who pursue the beauty of Shigaraki ware, along with old Shigaraki ware that expresses the Japanese sense of beauty. We hope you will enjoy the beauty of Shigaraki ware that has captivated people over the generations.

Square Water Jar, natural ash glaze
Koyama Kiyoko
Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park



“Ceramics for Enjoying Life” Series
①Special Exhibition “Treasure Chest of Sake Vessels”

Our culture attaches a variety of meanings to the act of having a drink. This means that sake vessels are not simply utilitarian pots, but tools for communication between people. A variety of sake vessels have been born in Japan, deepening relationships between people and helping us enjoy our daily lives.

This exhibition will focus on sake vessels as cultural artifacts that add to ouyr enjoyment of daily life. We will exhibit some 150 sake cups, bottles, and other items from the late Edo period through the present. We hope you will enjoy the varied world of Japanese sake utensils as if you were opening a treasure chest.

Exhibition Dates3
Wednesday, October 2 – Sunday, December 15, 201

Bairin Ware, Cochin Eggplant-Shaped Sake Bottle

Konan Ware, Eiraku Hozen, Goblet with Phoenix Design in Gold Enamel



Special Exhibition

All Kinds of Ceramics – 20 Years of the Artist in Residence Program

The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is one of only a few public cultural facilities in Japan with both an art museum and a residential studio program. Since opening in 1992, over 860 artists from 48 countries have visited Shigaraki to create their work here. This exhibition introduces artists who have been attracting attention in recent years together with their approach to their work. We will explore the most recent trends in the world of ceramic art, viewed through the evolution of the Institute of Ceramic Studies.

Exhibition Dates

Tuesday, June 18 – Monday, September 23, 2013 (86 days)

013img02a 013img02b



Special Exhibition
“Ceramics of the French Impressionists 1866 – 1884
– The Maturation of Japonisme”

Saturday, March 9 – Sunday, June 9


The world-famous French tableware Haviland, with the theme of “art for the table,” has produced a great variety of tableware. In 1872, together with Limoges, the company established a factory in Auteuil in Paris, and the impressionist painter Felix Bracquemond was selected to be the head of the art department. Bracquemond was said to be the first western artist to have been influenced by Japanese art, and the tableware set “Service Rousseau” provided the stimulus for the popularity of Japonisme. This exhibition will introduce the colorful world of Japonisme, from the search for new uses of color in applying impressionistic designs to terra cotta, through tableware decorated with the patterns of Japonisme.

Related events
Gallery Talk
Sunday, March 24