Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14
October 4, 2011 (Tue) - December 4, 2011 (Sun)
When ceramics are created, poorly-fired pieces and kiln implements are discarded at the kiln site. Shards of pottery excavated from these sites are an essential research source for identifying production areas and techniques. It can even be said that empirical, object-based research into the history of ceramics has advanced together with investigations of kiln sites.
On the other hand, as ceramics are chemically stable they maintain their original colors and glazes even when buried underground. Excavations of kiln sites frequently reveal pottery shards with shapes, patterns and evidence of production techniques not seen in existing works that have been passed down the generations. These shards are "fragments of history", a history that has been forgotten over time.
The Tokyo National Museum possesses pottery shards excavated from several kiln sites, but until now there has not been an opportunity to show them together. On display in this exhibition are shards excavated from the Yue kiln site and the Southern-Song-dynasty Jiaotanxia Imperial Kiln site in China, collected by Yonaiyama Tsuneo, a former Japanese consul of Hangzhou. Exhibits also include shards gathered from the ancient Hizen kiln site (in present-day Kyushu) by Mizumachi Wasaburo, a former researcher at the Kyoto Municipal Ceramics Laboratory, as well as shards found at Ninsei's kiln site in Omuro, Kyoto, by Ninagawa Hajime and others. We hope these pottery shards will help to evoke a real image of history.