(Japan 1958 – )
7.0 x 5.0 x 5.0 cm
Kondo Takahiro is from the third generation of a renowned ceramicist family of Yamanashi (Kyoto). His grandfather, Kondo Yuzo (1902-85) was named Living National Treasure in 1977 for his work in the cobalt blue underglaze ('sometsuke') technique. Kondo Takahiro first studied literature before starting to foster an interest in ceramics in 1986. He enrolled in the Kyoto Prefectural Ceramics Training School and Kyoto Municipal Technical Institute, studying design, pigments and glaze. His early works followed the more traditional 'sometsuke' decoration, advocated by his grandfather. Soon, he started to establish his own distinctive style, inventing the ‘silver mist’ glazing technique and experimenting with various media such as metal and cast glass that he combined with porcelain.
This rectangular box represent Kondo’s new interpretations of the traditional shape for incense boxes ('kōgō') as well as glazing technique: the rectangular shape with the high lid is reminiscent of boxes made of lacquer rather than ceramic or porcelain. The inner side of the box's lower part is decorated with geometric forms painted in underglaze blue and red, while the overall surface is covered with the ‘silver mist’ glaze ('gintekisai'), a technique invented by Kondo. Over the surface of an object painted with a colour (in this case blue) underglaze, a second layer of glaze comprising of silver, gold, platinum and glass, is applied. Through a second firing-process, the alloy glaze would crystallize to form silvery droplets of different sizes, evoking the effect of fine water drops on a shiny surface. The artist calls this ‘making water out of fire’.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, October 2009.