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Contemporary art

Asian art

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Black glaze square jar

circa 1950-1960


Suzuki Osamu


1926 - 2001


Suzuki Osamu is an important figure in the avant-garde movement of Japanese ceramics. Born in Kyoto in 1926, he graduated in ceramics from the Kyoto Municipal Technological School in 1943. Suzuki first exhibited in 1947, in the third 'Nitten' (Japan art exhibition). In 1948 he was one of the founders of the avant-garde 'Sodeisha' group, with whom he exhibited regularly.

Suzuki entered the competition of the 'Shinshôkai' (New Craftsman's Group) in 1949, which was at the time headed by the potter Tomimoto Kenkichi, and won a prize for his piece. Suzuki participated in many exhibitions, both in Japan and overseas, and has been awarded many prizes. For some years he was a judge for the Japan Traditional Crafts exhibitions. Following the death of Kazuo Yagi in 1979, Suzuki became head of the Sodeisha group, and his work was included in the group's exhibition that toured Australia in 1979-81.

In much of his work, Suzuki has been inspired by the neolithic clay figures called 'doguu', as well as by the slightly later 'haniwa' figures. While the source of his inspiration is these figures, he has abstracted his shapes and is concerned with exploring and disrupting the planes and textures of the surfaces of his objects. Suzuki worked in celadon as well as with plain clay.


Other Title

Square vase on pedestal foot

Alternative title

Koku-yû hô-ko

Place where the work was made



circa 1950-1960

Media category


Materials used

stoneware with tenmoku glaze


23.0 x 13.0 cm

Signature & date

Signed inside pedestal foot, in Japanese, stamped "Su" [initial of Suzuki]. Not dated.
Signed back of lid [associated NWA box], in Japanese, ink "Suzuki Osamu saku [made by Suzuki Osamu]" [and artist's seal]. Not dated.


Gift of Norman Sparnon 1988


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Suzuki Osamu

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Jackie Menzies and Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Japanese Art', pg. 70-82, Sydney, 1990, 82 (illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Ceramics', Sydney, 2003, 270 (colour illus.).

Norman Sparnon, Japanese Flower Arrangements, Tokyo, 1960, 155 [illus.].