SPECIAL FEATURE STORY
Mashiko Reference Collection Museum
3388 Mashiko, Mashiko City
Haga-gun, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-4217
Open: 9:30 am - 16:30 pm
Closed: Monday, National Holidays & February
Click photos to view larger images.
Some past Living National Treasure potters have memorial museums. It's a wonderful way to see their works, and learn about their lives, in the settings where they created. I can think of the Arakawa Toyozo and Fujiwara Kei museums as examples. This past weekend (9 March 2002), I and a group of twenty-four people, left the concrete jungle of Tokyo and traveled two hours or so to the land of Mashiko. Mashiko, as many of you already know, is a world-famous potting center that is forever indebted to one man -- Hamada Shoji. For a bit more on Hamada, please view the below links:
Hamada was a man who threw out his ego and found self-acceptance and understanding from his work, family, friends, and the art he collected the world over. Such was his enlightened state that he chose to name his museum the Sankou-kan or Reference Collection, not the Hamada Shoji Museum. The purpose was not to glorify his own work yet to have it sit side-by-side other crafts that nourished him throughout his life. He wanted to share that with others as well and hence the collection.
It's not only the collection that is worth the visit but also to stroll around the wonderful grounds. Hamada had a large country compound with fine gatehouses, stone kura, and a classic minka farmer's house with a thatched roof; it stands four stories high. Next to it is the workshop just as it was when Hamada worked there. I could imagine him and Leach walking in through the door to sit down at the wheel and throw a few pots. Actually, Hamada's grandson Tomoo was kind enough to lead our group around the compound and he demonstrated how his grandfather would throw a pot on the hand-powered wheel (see photo below).
Above Photos: Tomoo at the wheel; Hamada's workshop; Hamada's kiln
Above: Hamada's house; inside the workshop
Below: Entrance to the museum
The noborigama is eight chambers and is designated as a Mashiko Intangible Cutlural Property. It stands right behind the workshop (see photo near top of page).
Tomoo is a fine potter and is broadening the Hamada and Mashiko traditions with his own designs. He had a very successful exhibition at Mitsukoshi last year.
I hope you enjoy the photos, and also that one day you may visit this very special place.
Click photos to see larger images.
Above Photo: Calligraphy by Munakata Shiko