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Shoji Hamada Pottery

Shoji Hamada was a true master of Japanese pottery production. An internationally recognized artist whose work impacted ceramists around the globe, Hamada was renowned for his breathtaking approach to studio pottery.

Born in Tokyo near the end of the 19th century, Hamada first studied ceramics as a teenager at Tokyo Technical College. In 1918, he made the acquaintance of Bernard Leach, a prominent British potter, with whom Hamada formed a close friendship. Over the coming years, the two worked together on projects in Japan, England, and even the United States. Hamada absorbed these multicultural influences into his understanding of Japanese ceramic ware to create striking, streamlined pieces.

This novel approach proved remarkably successful, and the acclaim for Hamada's pieces has only escalated following his death in 1978. With his ceramic works yielding recorded prices, the acquisition of a Shoji Hamada creation is a true treasure.

Quick Facts

  • So valued were Hamada's contributions that he was declared a living national treasure by Japan in 1955
  • Further testament to Hamada's prestige is the museum in his honor: Hamada Shoji's Mashiko Reference Collection Museum, in Tochigi Prefecture, celebrates Hamada's career through examples of his pottery as well as some his tools and materials
  • Hamada's pieces are selling for increasingly higher prices. One of the highest prices achieved for a Shoji Hamada piece occurred at Christie's New York in 2013, when one of his larger stoneware bowls sold for $22,500

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