Friday, November 1, 2013

Books about Japanese Ceramics (in English)

Here is a list of several books that I have read lately that make interesting and informative reading for lovers of Japanese pottery and porcelain:

. "Japanese Ceramics of the Last 100 Years" by Irene Stitt (1974) 

Although a little outdated, it is informative. It basically covers the period from 1868 until the date of publication. It includes almost 350 photographs, most of which are just in black and white. I enjoyed the political and social background as well as details of styles, methods, and influential potters. In the back she lists some marks, I only wish she had added more!

2."Modern Japanese Ceramics- Pathways of Innovation & Tradition" by Annaliese and Wulf Crueger and Saeko Ito (2004)

This a a great book!! It covers almost every possible style of Japanese ceramics, beginning in Okinawa and making it step by step north and east. This book is filled with many details and wonderful color pictures as examples of each location covered. 

3. "Tamba Pottery-The Timless Art of a Japanese Village" by Daniel Rhodes (1970)

If you love Tanba pottery you will love this book. It invites you in to this special part of the Japanese pottery world in Tachikui. There are many pictures but most are in black and white.

4. "Agano and Takatori" by Gen Kozuru (1981)    Famous Ceramics of Japan Series #2

I enjoyed reading the history of these two styles of pottery in the context of the social and political world. There is also information on the original kilns. It has great pictures, mostly in color.

5. "Imari, Satsuma and Other Japanese Export Ceramics" by Nancy Shiffer (1997)

This book is lacking in information but has lovely pictures with descriptions. I wish she had dated more of the pieces and included more marks. She has three pages of marks in the back of the book.

6. "The Collector's Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain" by Joan F. Van Patten (1986)

This is a nice book with plenty of color photographs, descriptions and pages of hand drawn marks.

7. "Collection Japanese Antiques" by Alistair Seton (2004)

This is a great book for collectors of Japanese antiques. Because it covers more than just pottery there is limited detailed information. The pictures are beautiful. 

8. "Hirado: Prince of Porcelains" by Louis Lawrence (1997)

This is a lovely book. It has beautiful pictures, pages of marks and lots of history!  Although it deals with Hirado specifically, it also refers to other pottery and porcelains produced in surrounding areas.

9. "Japanese and Oriental Ceramics" (1971) by Hazel H. Gorham 

This little book is a bit different than some I have read. This book dabbles in the different styles of pottery as well as some of the meanings of the various common designs painted on the pieces. Ms. Gorham throws in some interesting history and famous marks. This a great addition to my library.

10. "The Unknown Craftsman" by Soetsu Yanagi, adapted by Bernard Leach (1978)

I have just begun reading this classic book, but have already been moved by the deep appreciation Bernard Leach had for his friend Soetsu Yanagi, as well as the love both had for the simple beauty of the arts, but especially pottery, found in small villages in Japan. It is also a spiritual book as Mr Yanagi fully believed that the arts are indeed spiritual.  Very Zen!

11. "The Potter's Brush" (2001) by Richard L. Wilson. I just got this one for Christmas and have only had a chance to flip through it, but if you have ever wanted to know about the Ogata Kenzan style, this is a great book! The photographs are great and there is a lot of documentation. I am looking forward to spending time perusing this one!!

12. "The Art of Japanese Ceramics" (1972) by Tsugio Mikami. This too, was a Christmas gift this year. My children think it rather odd that old, out of print books on Japanese pottery are at the top of my wish list!  This gives some history of ceramics in general, then flows into the beginnings of Japanese ceramics. Many of the pictures are in black and white but there are a number of full page color photographs. I like the fold up map of Japanese pottery sites from Pre-Kamakura through Edo Times.  I am excited about reading more about the history and nature of Japanese ceramics. 

13."Nabeshima" by Motosuke Imaizumi (1981) Famous Ceramics of Japani Series #1

Although somewhat dated this book is interesting as it touches upon the origins of Nabeshima, emphasizing that there is still much unknown that must be researched. The color photographs are lovely with some taking up a full page. It truly is eye candy for porcelain lovers!

14. " Folk Kilns I"  by Hiroshi Mizuo (1981) Famous Ceramics of Japan #3

This book focuses on the Folk Kilns on the island of Honshu. It gives a basic history, divided by regions. Many of the types of pottery are unfamiliar to even to most Japanese. There are many good photos of the various styles. 

15. "A Dictionary of Japanese Artists" by Laurence P. Roberts (1980)

This is a great reference book for the most famous potters and other artists, with some general information on each. Most of the people covered are from the 17th century through the early to mid-20th century. 

16. "The Japanese Pottery Handbook" by Simpson, Kitto and Sodeoka (1979)

Some friends surprised me with the gift of this book today. It was written by a westerner who went to Japan to teach but was so impressed with the pottery she began learning the art of Japanese pottery making. This book is meant to help other westerners who may need help with the Japanese terms, processes, shapes, forms, glazes, etc. It is written in both English and Japanese with many illustrations. This is a great addition to my library. Thank you Lisa and Julia!

17. "The Ceramic Art of Ogata Kenzan", Japanese Arts Library series, by Masahiko Kawahara (1985) translated by Richard L. Wilson

A great read. This work deals with the history of Kenzan, his life and works. The pictures, mostly black and white, show many samples of Kenzan's work. Mr. Kawahara also addresses the issue of imitations, as well as works by followers of Kenzan. 

18. "Folk Kilns II" By Kichiemon Okamura (1981) Famous Ceramics of Japan #4. This book focuses on the folk kilns of Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa. There are some great color photos and a basic history of the folk kilns of each area. I would have liked a bit more detail on major kilns but this series of books keeps to a general touching of the styles and history. There are maps in the back with kilns cited. 

19. "Shoji Hamada-A Potter's Way and Work" by Susan Peterson (1974) 

Susan Peterson knew Shoji Hamada for many years which gives this book a personal touch. This book covers not only The Master Potter himself but also the community around him. I just got this book so have not read it all but it has already given me a small window into his world and the world of Mashiko!

Most of the photographs are in black and white but there are a number of color photographs of him and his works. 

*I have read more of the book now and find myself quite fond of Mr. Hamada, the family man, the artist, the influence for a movement.  Love this book! Ms. Peterson brings him to life in her writing. I love how his creative process is described and feel the urge to find a piece of his work for my very own! 

20. "The Collector's Encyclopedia of Noritake" by Joan Van Patten (1984) This book covers the history of Noritake, many marks and color photographs of Noritake wares. While it is organized and informative it is impossible for anyone to cover all Noritake wares. The Noritake company does not even have complete records of all that it produced and when. This book is a good basic foundation for Noritake researchers. 

21. "Japanese Ceramics" by Hideo Tagai (1977). This little book covers the basic history of Japanese ceramics. It has many color pictures of basic styles of pottery as well as some lovely samples of some of Japan's greatest potters including Fujiwara Kei, Hamada Shoji, and Arakawa Toyozo. 

22. "Chinese, Corean And Japanese Potteries" by Japan Society of New York (reprint by Forgotten Books) I do not recommend this book in the reprinted form. I have not seen the original book so cannot comment on that. It basically is a catalogue of loan exhibition Hobson/ Morse 1914. The reprint text wise is fine but the photocopied pictures leave much to be desired. 

23. "Collector's Encyclopedia of Early Noritake" by Aimee Neff Alden 1995 

This book is helpful for identification and dates of early Noritake patterns. Of course, no book can contain all the patterns and marks out there, in fact none of mine are in the book. Similar or exact back stamps were in it. The book is easy to work with and gives a good basic history of Noritake. The pictures are mostly in color which helps a lot with identifying the patterns.

24. "Kutani", Japanese Arts Library Series. by Sensaku Nakagawa 1979

A helpful book on all things Kutani, including history, designs, maps, and a good glossary.

25. "Imari" Famous Ceramics of Japan #6, by Takeshi Nagatake 1982

As with the other books in this series, the history is explained and many examples of the pottery is presented. It is a good basic introduction to the beauty of Imari.

26. "Collector's Handbook of Marks & Monograms on Pottery and Porcelain" by William Chaffers (1874 reprint 1961) This book covers marks from many countries but it does have a nice Japanese mark section (pg168-189).

27. "Pottery and Porcelain" by Warren E. Cox (1944) Two Volumes 

These volumes cover marks from all over the world but includes a nice section on Japanese marks and basic history of Japanese ceramics, with charts of types, styles, potters, etc. 

28. "Treasury of Satsuma" by Sandra Andacht (1981). This is a very helpful little book for those interested in Satsuma wares. It gives a bit of history, discusses the various "schools", addresses blanks, and includes marks, motifs and more. This is worth it's place in my library.

29. "Japanese Ceramics Today-Masterworks from the Kikuchi Collection" (1983)

This book contains works by 100 modern Japanese Ceramists from the Kikuchi Collection. It has short bios on the Ceramists and some history of ceramics and Ms. Kikuchi's love for and knowledge of Japanese ceramics. It is a lovely book with beautiful photographs. The only thing that might have made it more useful to me would have been pictures of the potter's marks for identification. 

30. "Turning Point-Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan" (2004) 

       Metropolitan Museum of Art

I just got this book so cannot give a full review but from the first perusal it appears to be a wonderful book for anyone interested in Japanese cultural history of the Momoyama period and its influence on the arts. The photographs are lovely. I am looking forward to reading this lovely book more in depth.

31. "The Art of Ogata Kenzan" by Richard Wilson (1991) 

Mr. Wilson is the leading authority of the famous potter Ogata Kenzan. This is an extensive work on the art of Kenzan. It is a wonderful addition to my library, knowing I can go to it with almost any question I might have about Kenzan and his work.

32. "Collector's Guide to Made in Japan Ceramics" Book II By Carole Bess White (1996)

I like this book because Ms. White went to Japan and interviews and researched companies and pottery associations. There are many pictures of the ceramics as well as many marks.

33. "Collector's Guide to Made in Japan Ceramics" Carole Bess White (1994)

This is Carole's first book on this subject. It is impossible to have examples of everything but she does a good job of covering many styles. She wrote another book in 1996 adding to this foundation book. 

34. "Kakiemon" Famous Ceramics of Japan #5 by Takeshi Nagatake (1981)

Mr. Nagatake does a nice job giving a brief history and description of Kakiemon wares. Color pictures of many wonderful Kakiemon pieces with short captions. 

35. "Shino" Famous Ceramics of Japan #12 by Ryoji Kuroda (1984)

I love SHINO so this is a treat for me. Some reviews mention the washed- out color of the pictures but It does not take too much away from the many pictures included in the book. I am glad to have this one in my library.

36. "Karatsu" Famous Ceramics of Japan #9 by Taroemon Nakazato (1983)

As with the other books in this series it gives a basic history of Karatsu ware. It also explains the various styles within the Karatsu style. Techniques are also discussed. There  are also many color pictures with short explanations. I am happy to add this to my library!

37. "Japanese Ceramics-From the Tanakamaru Collection" by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Seattle Art Museum (1980) Text and Catologue by Nagatake Takeshi.

This is the collection of Tanakamaru Zenpachi (1894-1973). It contains ceramics from Kyushu. The pictures are lovely and there is a short explanation with each photograph. The book also contains a brief history of the main ceramic wares of Kyushu. It is a paperback.

38. "Made in Japan Ceramics 1921-1941" by Barbara Ifert (1994)

There are lots of color pictures and some descriptions. It may be somewhat helpful for collectors or those trying to document pieces. It is impossible to take pictures of everything. 

39. "Yakimono 4000 Years of Japanese Ceramics" Honolulu Academy of Arts (2005)

I was expecting more than a thin paperback when I ordered it, but it does have quite a bit of helpful information packed into it. It is written in both English and Japanese. It covers the history and various styles of Japanese ceramics.

The pictures are lovely. The descriptions are written by various Japanese authors. I would have preferred smaller pictures and more samples from the various periods, but it is still a very nice book.   80 pages.

40. "Visiting the Mino Kilns" by Janet Barriskill (1995). 

This is a helpful book for those interested in the Mino kilns. It also has a translation of Arakawa Toyozo's "The Traditions and Techniques of Mino Pottery". A great addition to my library and worth every penny.

41. "Japanese Export Ceramics 1860-1920" by Nancy Schiffer (2000). This book is lovely. There are many beautiful pieces photographed in this book. Some are identified with age and marks. I did notice that some marks are upside down which should have been checked by someone who knows Japanese. There are spelling errors and errors in identification of pieces. I consider this careless when publishing a book on Japanese ceramics! There are some marks with no identification, which are available if researched along with a Japanese reader familiar with Japanese ceramics. Although there are some obvious flaws in the book, over all it is nice and has some helpful information for those interested in exports from this time period. 

42. "Collector's Guide to Made in Japan Ceramics Book III" by Carole Bess White (1998).

This third in a series adds more marks, additional pieces of MIJ ware, patent information and more. It adds to the information in books I and II. 

43. "Collector's Guide to Made in Japan Ceramics Book IV" by Carole Bess White (2003).  I believe this finishes off her series. It adds to marks and pieces of MIJ ceramics from her previous books.

44. "The Collector's Encyclopedia Of Occupied Japan Collectibles 5th Series" by Gene Florence (1994)

This book does not show any of the hallmarks but does give a fairly good idea of what was being produced in the MIOJ period. The forward has helpful information about the markings in general. this will provide some help in identifying thins from this period. Up on the bookshelf it goes!

45. "Shino and Oribe Ceramics" by Ryoichi Fujioka 1977 

I am just starting to read this book and It am excited to learn what it offers. It has history, discusses the influence of the tea ceremony, included kilns, marks and many pictures!! 178 pages.

46. "A Connoisseur's Guide to Japanese Ceramics" by Adalbert Klein (translated by Katherine Watson) 1987 

I just got this one. It is a large book! It discusses the history from the early years through to the latter part of the twentieth century. It includes many photographs, includes many of the styles, tea wares, and includes information on many of the notable potters. 294 pages. 

47. "Pageant of Japanese Art, Ceramics and Metalwork" Edited by staff members of the Tokyo National Museum.  (1958) 

This is certainly a dated work, but helpful information from knowledgeable staff members. Most of the pictures are small and in black and white. This is a good addition to any library on Japanese ceramics and metal work, with pictures, history and descriptions. 168 pgs.

48. "The World of Japanese Ceramics" by Herbert Sanders (1978) 

With entries by both Leach and Hamada expressing the value of the book, right off it is a great addition to my library. This book deals with tools, techniques, styles, and history of Japanese ceramics. This is filled with lots of helpful information as has many pictures in both color and black and white. It has maps, glossary and index. 267pgs.

49. "Satsuma, An Illustrated Guide" by Sandra Andacht (1978) 67 pgs. This little book is filled with pictures and some helpful information on marks, styles, time frames for mostly Kyo- Satsuma wares. It is a helpful quick reference!

50. "The Living Treasures of Japan" by Barbara Adachi with introduction by Bernard Leach (1973) 67pgs. I have just received this book but so far it is a delight. Anyone who appreciates those who are masters of their crafts will enjoy this book. It covers not just ceramics but paper making, weaving and dying, woodworking, sword smithing, stencil cutting and bamboo work. There are three main potters represented, Ken Fujiwara, Shoji Hamada and Kyuwa Miwa. It has many wonderful pictures and the text is done in a "mingei" style. I look forward to spending more time in this lovely book. 

51. "Arts of Japan 2-Kyoto Ceramics" by Masahiko Sato (1973), 133 pgs. 

This is a translated work from a 1968 Series Vol. 28 of "Nihon no Bijutsu". Although somewhat dated it has basic information on Kyoto ceramics, the origins and history, varieties of works and influential potters. 

52. "Japanese Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art, Seto and Mino Ceramics" by Louise Allison Cort (1992) 254 pgs.

This has nice summaries on the pieces covering 15th to 19th century. The book has many color photographs. 

53. "Made in Occupied Japan: A Collector's Guide" by Marian Klamkin (1976) 184pgs.

Many examples of MIOJ items as well as common marks are included. It is a good primer on the topic and includes some of the history behind it. 

54. "Bridging East and West, Japanese Ceramics from the Kozan Studio" selections from the Perry Foundation (1994) 64 pgs.

This has many lovely examples of Kozan's work in color photographs, with additional historical information and marks! 

55. "Collector's Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain, Fifth Series" by Joan F. Van Patten. (1998)

This is helpful for comparing Nippon porcelain and has a few articles written with additional historical information and updated values. As far as values go, books like these are not very helpful in determining value as values for such things go up and down all the time. Being fifth in her series, it has many new pictures and some additional marks.

56. "Ceramics of Shimaoka Tatsuzo, Living National Treasure of Japan-A Retrospective" by Mingei International (2000) I LOVE this book. I could look at it for hours. The book is filled with beautiful color photographs of Shimaoka's works, his tools, his kiln, home and with him at the potter wheel. It includes a forward by Sori Yanagi, words from Mr. Shimaoka, along with tributes and commentary. Mr. Shimaoka's work inspires me and I feel such warmth from his works. I truly stand in awe. This is a special book in my library!

57. "Japanese Ceramics" by Roy Andrew Miller (after text by Seiichi Okuda, Fujio Koyama, Seizo Hayashiya, and others with photographs by Manshichi Sakamoto, Tazaburo Yoneda and Yoshihiko Maejima) 1961. Lots of history and pictures of Japanese ceramics from early times through time of first publication in 1960. 

58. "Hamada Potter" by Bernard Leach (1990 paperback edition)

I have wanted this book for quite a while, it just arrived in the mail.  This was written by a man who knew Shoji Hamada very well. They were a large part of the "Mingei Movement". I have not read it yet, but thumbing through the pages I can tell it will be a great read. There are many pictures of Hamada and his work......can't wait to get started! **I just wanted to add that after reading I can say that this is a delightful and inspirational book of men who overcame many hardships to make the "Mingei" movement succeed. 

59. "Imperial Japan: The Art of the Meiji Era (1868-1912) by Frederick Baekeland and Martie W. Young 1980. 232pgs. This is an exhibition catalog. It has some good history of the ups and downs in ceramics of the period. It explains how ceramics were affected by the political, social, and economic changes of the era. Some lovely pictures of the exhibition pieces are in black and white with explanations. I would have like to have seen more of the lesser quality wares and a discussion of how and where they fit into the scheme of things. 

60. "The Grammer of Japanese Ornament" by George Ashdown Audsley and Thomas W. Cutler, originally published in 1882 (1989 by Arch Cape Press) This book is fairly large with many wonderful pictures. It includes the history, influences, and methods. It includes architecture, sculpture, painting, lacquer, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, enamel and decorative work. 

61. "Japanese Painted Porcelain, Modern Masterpieces in Overglaze Enamel" Edited by the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. (1980) 245 pages. 

This is a large book with fabulous full-page images of some of the most beautiful overgrazed enamel works by some of the most famous artists. There are also pages at the back with commentaries of the pieces in the book. 

62. "Collecting Noritake A to Z, Art Deco & More" by David Spain (1999) 208 pgs. This just arrived at my door today so I have not had a chance to digest the whole book, but I already like the Art Deco focus and the pages on marks. The salesman sample pages are quite interesting as well. This is a good addition to the other books I have on Noritake, filling in some holes the others are missing. 

63. "Mingei of Japan: The Legacy of the Founders- Soetsu Yanagi, Shoji Hamada, Kanjiro Kawai", Edited by Martha W. Longendecker. Published by Mingei International Museum (2006) 

This is a lovely and inspiring book. The photos are fabulous and the background on the Mingei Movement and its founders is moving. 

64. "The Art of Japan" by J. Edward Kidder Jr. (1985) 319 pages This gives a nice overview of many of the wonderful arts of Japan.

65. "The Ceramic Art of Japan-A Handbook for Collector's" by Hugo Musterberg (1964) 272pages

66. Japanese Decorative Arts of the Meiji Period" by Oliver Impey and Joyce Seaman (2005) 112pgs. 

This is a nice little book. The pictures are lovely. There are nice choices of various types of Japanese decorative arts, with marks included. 

67. "The Golden Age of Karatsu Stoneware" by Francois Villemin (2013) 192 pgs. This is a fabulous book.

68. "Mingei Folk Arts of Japan, Collections of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria" (1979).

69."Japanese Art Signatures" by James Self and Nobuko Hirose (1987) 379 pgs. A very helpful resource!

70. "The Story of Imari" by Goro Shimura (2008) 200 pages. This is the "Go To" bible on Old Imari in English. This book is an essential for any serious researcher or collector of Old Imari.

71. "The Ceramic Art of Japan"by Hugo Munsterberg (1964)

Historical and informative though somewhat outdated.

72 "Edo Art in Japan 1615-1868" National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (1998-1999)

This is a huge book filled with Edo period Art, with some classic Ceramic pieces. History and background given.

73. "Japan, The shaping of the daimyo culture 1185-1868". National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1998-1999) 480 pages. This is a large book filled with pictures and commentary

74."Lost Innocence Folk Craft Potters of Onta Japan" by Brian Morean (1984) 252 pages. If you love Onta pottery, or simply wish to learn the essence of folk craft, this is a must read.

75. "Igezara" by Alistair Seton (1992) This has many examples of Igezara along with marks and general history.

76."The Collector's Encyclopedia of Occupied Japan Collectibles" Third Series by Gene Florence (1987, 1994) 136 pages 

77." The Collector's Encyclopedia of Occupied Japan Collectibles" 4th Series by Gene Florence (1990, 1993) 128 pages

78."The Collector's Guide to Wall Pockets" by Marvin and Joy Gibson (1994) 330 pages. This book does not restrict itself to just Japanese, but there are many Japanese examples here.

79."Wall Pockets of the Past"by Fredda Perkins (1996) 160 pages. This covers wall pockets from many countries. Japanese wall pockets begin on page 73.

80."Animal Figures" by Mike Schneider (1990) 252 pages. This work includes made in Japan figures but covers figures from other countries. 

81."Buttons" by Diana Epstein and Millicent Safro (1991) 176 pages. This book include buttons from many countries but section on Japanese buttons is wonderful, especially the section on Satsuma of the late 19th century. 

82."Ningyo The Art of the Japanese Doll” by Alan Scott Pate (2005) 288 pages. This include ceramic dolls.  If you like Japanese dolls this would be the "go to" book on the subject.

83. "The Collector's Guide to Occupied Japan Collectibles" by Gene Florence (1976,1992) 107 pages.

84."The Collector's Guide to Occupied Japan Collectibles" Second Series by Gene Florence (1979,1993) 112 pages.

  1. "Splendors of Imperial Japan, Arts of the Meiji Period from the Khalili Collection" by Joe Earle (2002) 468 pgs. 
  1. "Splendors of Meiji, Treasures of Imperial Japan, Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, The Curriculum Guide for Educators and Docents"  by Robert Steven Bianchi (1999) 92 pgs. 
87. "Quiet Beauty, Fifty Centuries of Japanese Folk Ceramics (2003)

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