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Kawai Kanjiro

(Japanese 1890-1966)

Kawai Kanjiro was a key figure in the Japanese folk art movement, founding the Japan Folk Art Association and starting the magazine Mingei alongside Yanagi Soetsu and Hamada Shoji. Like Hamada he originally trained at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and went on to establish his own kiln in Kyoto in 1920, which has been made into a museum following his death. He travelled with Yanagi and Hamada to Korea, and was also a friend of Bernard Leach. Korean and Japanese folk art, along with English slipware, had a large influence on his works in the 1920s and 1930s. In the post-war period, he experimented with new forms and styles, and his works became more abstract and less traditional. This experimentation continued into the 1960s, with the decoration on his works becoming more expressionist with bold splashes of colour. Kawai Kanjiro is notable for his mastery of glazes, and the variety of techniques he used throughout his lifetime, including slip-trailed outlines, marbling or neriage, as well as slab-building. Unlike many of his contemporaries Kawai Kanjiro never travelled to the West, and is lesser known outside of Japan.

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A green stoneware lidded box made by Kawai Kanjiro sold at auction by Maak Contemporary Ceramics



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