Robert Yellin's Japanese Pottery Blog

Greetings from Kyoto, We've just moved our gallery into a magnificent old Sukiya style home located very near the Silver Pavilion; a stunning area and setting for the inspired ceramic art we share with the world. Please visit us if ever in Kyoto or online at and

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tomo Collection at Musee Tomo, Tokyo

'It was twenty years ago today that the famous Kikuchi Collection of Modern Japanese Ceramics was shown to "smashing" reviews at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and also at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The 300-piece collection sparked a great interest in modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics that continues to this day. The two exhibitions remain a milestone for 20th century Japanese ceramic art. For the past twenty years, though, the collection has been in storage or on display for Madame Kikuchi Tomo alone.

Well, that has all changed, as her fabulous new museum opened in Tokyo on April 20 (2003) and is appropriately named Musée Tomo. The inaugural exhibition is "Japanese Ceramics Today, Part 1" and it gives Japan its first look at the Kikuchi Collection. It's about time a museum opened in Tokyo devoted to modern and contemporary ceramic art, and I don't think anyone could have imagined a better venue than what Madam Kikuchi has created with her distinguished design team.'
These two paragraphs were taken from a Japan Times article I wrote some years back and now the Musee Tomo is showing works from the private collection of Madame Kikuchi Tomo, including many works in the exhibition from decades ago. The exhibition runs until Feb.25th, 2007 and a few photos are shown here; works by Kato Tokuro, Rosanjin, Itaya Hazan, Raku Kichizaemon, Tomimoto, Yagi, and Kamoda among other legends are shown. More about the museum can be read on and the museum's homepage in Japanese only is
Photos by Robert Yellin and may not be used without permission/Copyright Musee Tomo and Robert Yellin

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dorothy Feibleman in Tokyo

Some of the most brilliant and translucent porcelain I'ver ever seen is made by Dorothy Feibleman. Her work is quite magical and the child within certainly awakens with wonder upon viewing some of her work. Her work is now being shown in Tokyo at Yufuku Gallery and their homepage is
The exhibition is on until Nov.25th and photos can also be seen online. Wow.
More about Dorothy can be read at

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fake Kakurezaki.......oh my!

So, a potter becomes a star here in Japan and thus many want to cash in, especially unscrupulous potters, of which there a few around. On the Net here I came across this guinomi that the seller says is made by the ever-popular Bizen potter Kakurezaki Ryuichi; it's not, it's a fake, Now in the Orient copying goes back centuries and many fakes are so good they are taken for the real thing, especially for paintings and scrolls. I've come across fake pots of Rosanjin, Kenzan, Kato Tokuro, Arakawa Toyozo, Kaneshige Toyo, Kondo Yuzo, Old Bizen, etc...the list goes on and on. Recently at a dealers auction I saw a Harada Shuroku and then all those 'Ko-Bizen' pots. How can one tell? Well, first is form, then firing, then the mark-signature. This Kakurezaki is off on all three points, the foot-kodai is too contrived and the mark is sloppy at best. Of course these forgers are going at smaller works such as guinomi for Kakurezaki and Harada as the larger works are too much effort and there's no way to be able to copy them just so. Quite often a signed box is also provided, not so here though as Kakurezaki's calligrpahy is also so unique. So much so that hardly anyone can read it! Anyway, beware if something looks too good to be true.......this piece was 5,000 yen. You can find many examples of Kakurezaki works in our archives at along with examples of his mark for pots.

Extended Hands: A Show of Support

Dick Lehman is a rare potter in that he nots only creates some very fine work, he is also an inspirational writer, spiritual searcher of the unconditional loving kind, and a person whose friendship I value very much. Some of you may remember Dick from the travelogue he did for us, you can see that here:
At the bottom of the above page you'll also be able to find a link to Dick's homepage.
Well, Dick has been quite ill recently and thus has not been able to pot and well, life has been tough, to say the least. As potters are a tight community of sorts, many have come together and donated works for a charity sale-auction to help raise some needed cash to help Dick beat his illness and also help to pay some bills. You can view the many pieces for sale online and read more about Dick at this web site:
Gambatte Dick and get well soon and back to the studio!