dai ichi arts, Ltd.


8/29/2016 | Scented Splendor: The art of KIYOMIZU Rokubei VII




A versatile artist who worked in many media, including metal and architecture, Kiyomizu Rokubai VII only began experimenting in clay after marrying into a family of prominent Kyoto potters. His uniquely diverse background led to an innovative body of ceramic work that constantly pushes boundaries, a tendency that has led to many prestigious awards for the artist. His success in ceramics has not lessened his commitment to sculptural work, however. He remains an established sculptor who is widely recognized for his large public works in locations such as JR Kyoto station, the Hyogo Ceramic Museum, and Kyoto City Museum. 


These two incense burners reveal this artist's talent in imaginative architectural form. Humorous and cartoonistic, these works have a playful sense of balance and display a careful attention to surface. 


The first piece stands like a robot, its geometric cylinders coming together to form an almost mechanical whole. This effect is amplified by the work's glowing gold interior. Unlike many potters, this artist often uses metallic glazes in his work, possibly a nod to his earlier metalwork. 


This piece formally resonates both with bent sheets of cut metal and with the shining black roof tiles often found on Kyoto homes. 


The beautiful deep red color of the second piece comes from iron slip overpainted with a rustic iron glaze. The openings at the top are sliced and cut like sheet metal work, and it is from these that the fragrant smoke of incense wafts. 


This piece has a playful sense of motion, almost as if the clay remains flexible - it seems to sway on its short supports. The motion continues in the vibrant glaze drips. Overall, this work has a squat, spirited presence that is almost anthropomorphic. At any moment it might trundle away on its tiny feet!


Even the titles of his works refer to this artist's sculptural approach: ( 席---). They are truly wonderful small-scale examples of his larger forms!

KIYOMIZU Rokubei VII 七世清水六兵衛 (1922-2006)

Incense Burner with black glaze "Setsu-do-yoh" 

截土容黒燿香炉, circa 1992

H9.3" x Dia4.7", H23.8 x Dia12cm


Signed at the bottom

With Signed Wood Box

Incense Burner  "Seki-toh-yoh 9" 席陶容-九, 1989

H8.6" x D4.8" x W4.6", H22 x D12.2 x W11.8cm


Signed at the bottom

With Signed Wood Box

C.S. Jiang