photo: SAIKI Taku

Vase, cattleya design, blue glaze

ArtistKITADE Fujio
Material/ Techniqueceramic
Size/ DurationH35×φ20.3cm
Copyright Notice© KITADE Hiroshi
Year of acquisition/ donation2000
DescriptionBorn in Hyogo, Japan in 1919. Died in Ishikawa in 2014.

Born into the Kitade family of Kutaniyaki-style ceramicists, Kitade was adopted by and apprenticed to his uncle, Tojiro, and studied raw clay and overglaze decoration. After graduating from Ishikawa Technical School (now Ishikawa Technical Senior High School), Kitade studied at the Kyoto Imperial Ceramic Experimental Institute. Later, after military service, he entered Kanazawa College of Art. Kitade used the Saiyu transparent glaze technique to incorporate elements of Persian ceramics into the Kutaniyaki style. In so doing, he opened the door to new possibilities.

Kitade’s Saiyu color gradation technique involves carving into the surface of the shaped clay with a nail before it hardens, firing it and then applying a color on top of the engraving. Finally, the piece is covered in a clear, high-alkaline, low-temperature glaze and baked again. While Kitade was a student at Ishikawa Technical School, the famed ceramicist TOMIMOTO Kenkichi worked at the studio of Kitade’s uncle Tojiro. Kitade was deeply influenced by Tomimoto’s method of first making sketches on which to base his ceramic decorations. In "Bowl, “Birds”, clear glaze" Kitade has made a vital and dynamic design of birds and carved that design into the clay using simple lines. His application of transparent glaze on the surface has given his bright colors a tone of subtlety and a painterly, fantasy-like quality. In "Vase, cattleya design, blue glaze", Kitade’s application of a bright blue glaze is reminiscent of Persian ceramics and results in softer colors and textures than were the norm in the traditionally hard style of Kutaniyaki.