Matsui Kosei (Japanese, 1927 – 2003)
DimensionsWork : 11 1/2 x 4 x 4 in. (29.21 x 10.16 x 10.16 cm)
Credit LineGift of Maurice Kawashima
LabelNeriage is the Japanese term for a technique in which potters wedge together different clays, then cut the clays across the grain to make ceramics with multi-color surface designs created by the combination of clays. The technique was brought to Japan from China and Korea sometime around the 17th century, but it never attracted much attention there until artist Matsui Kosei revived it and elevated it to new levels of complexity starting in the 1960s. The body of this vase was made with a mixture of two brown clays whose arrangement creates a design resembling lily pads on the surface of a pond or stones mortared together in a wall. Matsui's mastery of the difficult neriage technique earned him a designation as a Living National Treasure by the Japanese government in 1993.