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, May 11, 2007

Fujioka and......

Many thanks to all who visited our Fujioka Shuhei Power of Iga Part ll Exhibition. It will be online until May 25th, so there is still time to stop by at or here in Mishima. We'll be offering non-Fujioka pieces on the gallery from Monday May 14.
I was very touched to receive this letter from Mr. T. Jones in the UK, thank you Jones-san:

Reference/Tribute. Please quote from, use as a whole, or smile and ignore. Modern Japanese ceramics is hugely under-appreciated in the West. In part, this is because of the difficulties faced by the Western collector. Unless he buys through outlets local to him he can't examine the objects directly, and how does he gain access to the better works ofthe best potters, which for the most part, go through Japanese dealers to the thousands of avid Japanese collectors? And if he does find sources on the Internet, how can he be sure that the ones on offer aren't the ones that have already been rejected by Japanese buyers? Then there are the language and cultural problems... In the field of Western painting, there are scores of dictionaries, biographies, illustrated critiques and catalogues, and all in English, and there are hundreds of galleries to visit, public and private. While there are Western galleries that display Japanese works - a few - there are very few books that will help the collector, a score maybe, and none that is comprehensive even within a limited area, or that provides enough photographs to impart a grasp of a particular potter's output or of aparticular kiln or tradition, though works on Hamada Shoji, the Shigaraki tradition and Tamba go some of the way. The extraordinary thing about Robert Yellin is how well he meets the collector's needs. Through his archive and e-Yakimono website he provides invaluable catalogues of a huge number of potters, schools, styles and techniques, illustrated by copious colour photographs. As a resource bank it is far from comprehensive - how could it be with a subject that is so massive and so complex? But it is unique and it is a delight. Then, in the special circumstances of his life in Japan, Robert has acquired such knowledge and authority that, as a dealer, he has become a kind of filter, an essential filter, for the Western collector particularly, but also for the Japanese enthusiast, for he sells to him, too. He knows many potters personally and can obtain pots pieces directly from the kiln,thereby giving collectors access to fresh work that doesn't go straight to Tokyo or Kyoto. But pots come to him from many sources, and you know that Robert's descriptions will be accurate and detailed, that his prices will be fair (how many Westerners would know the market value of a work by a potter of whose name he had never heard?). Best of all is his enthusiasm (which is infectious): if Robert delights in a work he will tell you so, and why: you will learn from that, and you will also learn to trust him. T. Jones U.K.


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