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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kabtuo Samurai Stoneware Helmets-Echoes of Past Glory--Koinuma Michio

Greetings from Mishima,

As the year 2009 slowly winds down we close our exhibition
schedule with a look at 20 of Koinuma Michio's empowered
kabuto--Samurai helmets. Kabuto are objects with a significant
history here in Japan, worn by the warrior class Samurai for
protection in battle, they also were symbols of power and clan
affiliations; many were also beautifully constructed to resemble
works of art. Nowadays families display model ones during Boy's
Day in the spring in hopes of a strong and healthy future. Each
of Koinuma's helmets has an ancient aura surrounding the darkened
patina of each work, as if they were excavated from a lord's
tomb. The symbolism is strong in each representing character,
boldness, humility, honor and courage. Fired in a small
wood-burning kiln, each is given a unique firing scheme that can
never be duplicated. Koinuma(b.1936) imparts to all his unique
ceramic creations a deep spirituality combined with a pure
Japanese aesthetic; he's been doing this for decades and as such
is respected as one of Japan's most important veteran ceramic
artists. Sizes range from 13 to 23cm.tall and prices are between
100,000-160,000 yen with signed boxes. Each is hollow yet very
solid with a good weight and balance; additional photos of any
gladly sent upon request. Koinuma's kabuto are on the web gallery
now for viewing and in time for the holidays.

Next year look for a new look to our online gallery; we've been
working with a great team of web designers and look forward to
the debut in early January. Also on tap for 2010 are exhibitions
by Nagaoka Masami, jars by Koinuma, colorful Shimura Noriyuki and
a rare look at veteran Hirashimizu potter Niwa Ryochi; other
exhibitions to be announced.

With any orders through the end of the year we'll be including a
traditional hand cloth called a tenugui that was designed by
Ajiki Hiro as a year-end gift.

With much thanks for all your interest and support this year.
Wishing all a very pleasant, enjoyable and healthy holiday season.

Warm regards,

Robert Yellin