H153   A plate by Kenkichi Tomimoto.  (1886-1963)

Kenichi  Tomimoto was born in Nara prefecture, Japan in 1886 to a weathly family. He graduated from Tokyo Art School in 1908, then went for two years to England to study decoration, furniture and painting.

Tomimoto Kenkichi is certainly one of the  greats of Japanese ceramic arts in the 20th century. In contrast to the popular Japanese “folk style” pottery, which is defined by it’s sturdy appearance and direct decoration, Tomimoto’s pottery appears delicate with ornate designs. He preferred porcelain and made use of overglaze enamels, as well as gold and silver lustre.

Tomimoto’s philosophy was, “Produce large quantities of inexpensive vessels that have been designed by a true artist and manufactured in a coordinated, well-organized pottery, in order that every kind of person, in every kind of house can use it; inexpensive pottery that anybody can buy and that nobody can afford to be without.” This was a version of the Mingei tradition that Yanagi would have approved even though Tomimoto’s work was not born out of the annonymous, peasant traditions that so influenced Hamada or Leach.

Tomimoto founded the ceramics department at the Kyoto Municipal College of Fine Arts. He was a close friend of Bernard Leach and his graphic style was hugely influential upon Leach.

Brush decorated with cobalt pigment and red enamel.   Clearly marked underneath.

8.25 inches across.

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Tomimoto with Leach in the 1920’s








In later life decorating a vase with overglaze enamels.