Are Kawase & Fukami Living National Treasures in Japan?
Neither artist is a Living National Treasure at this time. I'm not aware of any ceramic artist who works in a more contemporary vein like Fukami or Kawase who has earned the designation, though there are Living National Treasures who work in modern forms. The designation is most often given to people who are continuing to refine traditional approaches.
Tell me more.
This vase, made in 1988, uses celadon glaze, a blue-green glaze with a long history in Chinese ceramics.
The artist was influenced in particular by ceramics produced during the Song dynasty (920-1279), considered a high point in the history of Chinese ceramics.
You'll notice that this vase has a rim that opens and curves like a flower. Flowers, specifically the lotus, have strong connections to Buddhism as symbols for purity and enlightenment.
How does Kawase Shinobu make his pieces? The shapes look too perfect and satisfying to be real.
I agree! Initially, the clay is turned on a wheel. That contributes significantly to the perfect symmetry. The even application of the glaze also contributes to the smoothness of the surface.