Miyashita Zenji (Japanese, 1939–2012)
Stoneware; 16 1/4 x 10 1/2 x 4 in. (41.3 x 26.7 x 10.2 cm)
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1994 (1994.221.1)
Miyashita Zenji draws on the rich and varied traditions of Japanese ceramics to create highly evocative yet functional modern objects. In this vase, Miyashita employs the traditional Japanese ceramic technique of saidei, in which layer upon layer of different colored clays are applied to create a striated appearance. It is at once abstractly geometric and naturalistic, suggesting rugged mountain peaks and valleys in its richly patterned surface. Like many of Miyashita's works, the form of this vase is simple, prismatic, and unmistakably modern. Its pure and functional form also serves as a reminder that it is a useful object as well as a work of art.