Tag Archives: 美術

Noh Mask Artist: Roger Voltz

Roger Voltz standing in front of his artworks at the recently exhibition in Shziuoka Bank Shizuogin Gallery Yonki.

“I would like to leave a legacy for the younger generation to continue.”

Roger Voltz (63, a French citizen born in St. Denis in the suburbs of Paris, came to Shizuoka City in 1973 to settle down after a long travel through the woorld.
A University language lecturer by trade he had always been attracted by the Japanese culture.

Apart of becoming in martial arts he has been carving Noh masks for the last 18 years.
Noh Theater is one of the oldest forms of theater in Japan (originating out of combination of Chinese performing arts, known as sarugaku, and traditional Japanese dance called dengaku、 during the Muromachi Era, 13th~16th Century) and has attained great fame in World Performing Arts for its intricate dances, music and acting.
The actors are exclusively male and usually only the main one wears a mask(s) on stage.

Akobujou/阿古父尉/Old Man

There are five Noh Theater “Schools” all possessing their own original masks.
But the same masks have to be duplicated according to rules and traditions as obviously these original masks are really worn, invaluable relics they are!

Hanjo/班女/Lady Han

So far Roger has carved and exhibited 20 masks under the guidance of his Master, Kishinosuke Atsumi.
5 of them were exhibited at The Exhibition held with three more artists at the Shizuoka Bank/Shizugin Gallery Yonki March 10th~16th.
He is far from being a new face in the art as he has already exhibited in the Shizuoka Prefecture Museum and in Mariko.

Kantan Otoko/邯鄲男/The Man form Kantan

Carving the masks in wood is a long and intricate process taking 8~10 months in Roger’s cas as he can create them only during his spare time.

Yamanba/山姥/the Old Mountain Crone

Each mask weighs 130g~150g for female characters and 150~180 g for male counterparts.

Hashihime/橋姫/Princess Hashi (the mask of jealousy!)

Each mask is carved out of a block of either hinoki/檜/Japanese cypress or kusunoki/楠/camphor tree, both valuable wood in this country.
The process was kindly demonstrated with maks carvedin different stages at the exhibition:

The “four main stages”

A rough picture is drawn on a block weighing around 1 kg.

A rough mask is carved with help of hard paper measures.

The face is gradually carved in more details with the help of hard paper model.

The finished product hollowed out to fit the face of the actor with holes for the eyes and mouth!
It will then be careful painted.

I’m planning to interview Roger in his atelier soon to show you a more detailed explanation!

If you want to contact Roger directly for more information, write to him at rvoltz@mta.biglobe.ne.jp !

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Cappuccino Art: Big Bad Wolf?


I’ve been lazy today. I mean as far as blogging is concerned.
I just had too much on my agenda. I have to work sometimes! LOL

I was just having this “business meeting” at one of my favourite Cafettaria, namely CAFFETERIA IL CUORE in Shizuoka City, when I realized that the Cappucino I had asked was worth a second look.
Rowena will probably tell me this is run-of-the-mill in Italy, but in Japan, where people are in a hurry, taking the time to prepare an artful cup of coffee is almost a luxury.

Anyway, I think this wolf is a bad one. His face is just too sly! Okay, it might be a bear in disguise, too!LOL

420-0035 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken-cho, 13-20, Ishiwata Bldg. 1F
Tel. & fax: 054-2723737
Business hours: 11:30~23:00 (open every day)
Credit Cards OK

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Robert Yellin Mishima Yakimono Gallery Newsletter: Kansha (Appreciation) from Japan

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
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Greetings from Mishima,

As 2008 comes to a close we here in Mishima would like to say thank you for visiting our gallery this year; kansha is a good word the Japanese use to express their appreciation and we send our kansha to you.
Last week we concluded our recent Shimura Noriyuki exhibition and it was a lot of fun indeed. Not our usual shibui offerings, yet Shimura is a fine ceramic artist who sparks the imagination and senses, and as Einstein once said imagination is more important than knowledge. Shimura’s works were bought by clients worldwide and kansha to all who visited the exhibition online.
If anyone is looking for a year-end gift or something for yourself, until our last day at the gallery–which will be Dec.26th–EMS insured express postage for any item will be on the house, and works in our back pages that have been waiting for a good home we are offering a deal on those, so if anything there interests you please email me at robert@e-yakimono.net (web gallery is of course at www.japanesepottery.com).

Also, this year we have a neat Hokusai Fuji-san calendar to send out as well with anything leaving the gallery.

Next year we will have Iga, Shigaraki and Bizen exhibitions, as well as participating at the Art Fair Tokyo from April 3-5!

In any event, again our deep thanks and kansha; wishing you a very pleasant and relaxing year-end and a very positive 2009, with many days just as you like them.

Namaste from Mishima,

Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Robert Yellin Mishima Yakimono Gallery Newsletter: The Power of Myth–Shimura Noriyuki’s Floating World…..Previews

The Japan Blog List

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Greetings from Mishima,

As late autumn winds blow here in Japan, the world around has become a seductive and gorgeous world of color. A blessing to alive to see, enjoy and be part of. In these days of seasonal and mindful change I wanted to share an artist whose work matches the season, the season of color and the season of inward and outward change. His name is Shimura Noriyuki.

First though to quote Joseph Campbell, a man I never met, yet from whom I have been a humble student of in text:

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.・


“The function of mythological symbols is to give you a sense of
“Aha! Yes. I know what it is, it’s myself.”

And these two quotes point to a connection between the power of symbols and art and how they affect who we are and how we live. I believe it’s important to be reminded of this each and every sacred day. Shimura creates his very unique art with these thoughts in mind, giving us everything from small dishes to figures that not only make one smile and ‘find the child within
again’, yet also are visual entities of what Campbell speaks of, the rapture and joy that *is* being alive here and now. Many of Shimura’s pieces are mythical beings and others are just pure fun.


Shimura (b.1956) is an Izu, Shizuoka ceramic artist, yet this is his first Shizuoka–and worldwide–exhibit. He’s shown all over Japan–after having studied with late, great Seto glaze master Kato Sho. In the early years Shimura entered and was accepted at such prestigious exhibitions as Nitten, Asahi, Chunichi, Suntory Museum, Japan Ceramic Art exhibitions, yet decided to give up these places to show at smaller galleries throughout Japan; since 1996 that is what he’s done.

dragon-box figure-buddha figure-fuji-a

His works are colorful, yet his use of color is very shibui, as you’ll see in the preview pages below. The exhibition will go online tomorrow, Thursday the 20th–and Shimura will be in the
gallery all day for those who might like to Skype and say hi.


If not for yourself, then Shimura’s works are a great year-end gift. Additional photos of any works gladly sent upon request:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Enjoy; peace, health and happiness for the upcoming holiday seasons around our world.

And as always thank you very much.

Warm regards,

Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Robert Yellin Mishima Yakimono Gallery Newsletter: Bizen Yaki/Bizen Pottery

The Japan Blog List

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(Wakimoto Hiroyuki )

Greetings from Mishima,

Just coming back from California last week I once again realized how important the seasons play out in Japanese culture. Talking with my friends in San Diego most had no idea about how the
Japanese take the seasons to a poetic height, for instance changing vessels to match the seasons. Here autumn is in full swing and thus autumnal delicacies and fitting pottery are to be
seen everywhere. I can argue that no other Japanese pottery style fits autumn better than Bizen.

A month or so ago I did visit Bizen and selected works by Harada Shuroku, Wakimoto Hiroyuki and Kakurezaki Ryuichi.

Works by Wakimoto

and Harada are mostly listed in the gallery–some preview photos for Wakimoto–and after my return from California I started listing Kakurezaki’s works. All three are major figures, yet

Kakurezaki is surely *the* Bizen ceramic artist representing the *now* for Bizen. Four of his larger not yet listed works can be viewed here:
1, 2, 3, 4.

Today I’ll be listing a katakuchi pouring vessel as well as a smaller vase. All are museum quality works and please do view them when you have a moment, if for nothing else then to refresh
the senses in these surreal days.

Also, Ajiki Hiro’s son Jun is also now showing some of his fine chawan with us; they are very much in his father’s artistic realm. Quite a few potters here are now copying the Ajiki style, especially their checkered Basara style, blatant copying really.
I won’t name names, yet one is a very celebrated–shameless–potter here.

In May our gallery was featured on a NHK special on Bizen and since then a small book was published by NHK with additional photos and copy. All in Japanese though, if anyone is interested
in seeing a copy please email me.

Also, if you happen to be in Tokyo on Oct. 25th, John Gauntner and I will be hosting a Sake-Pottery Lecture Dinner; please email me for further details or see John’s web site noted above, the events page.

In any event, thank you for your interest in our gallery and wishing you all a pleasant autumn.


Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Robert Yellin Mishima Yakimono Gallery Newsletter

The Japan Blog List

Please check the new postings at:
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Greetings from Mishima,

Today is August 1st and hard to believe two months of the summer have already passed. For kids in Japan though it’s basically just beginning as the summer vacation just began last week.

No matter where you are–and how young you are–we hope you are having a delightful and happy summer…in the northern hemisphere!

A few weeks ago I drove four hours to visit Hamada Tomoo and select some new works that he had just unloaded from the kiln. As I noted in my brief description online, Hamada Tomoo(b.1967) is a fine Mashiko potter expanding the tradition of which his grandfather Shoji made famous; his father is Shinsaku. Tomoo studied sculpture at Tama Art University before returning to Mashiko. He’s already established himself in Japan with numerous exhibitions including Mitsukoshi, Tokyo, and he was part of a three generation (Shoji-Shinsaku-Tomoo) exhibition at the Asahi Museum, Kyoto. I like his work–and know he’s an important potter for Mashiko–because its fresh for Mashiko using the same traditional materials his father and grandfather used. Tomoo has a keen sense and already since we last offered works he’s taken his art to a higher level. A few years ago a US museum director and I visited Hamada and now his work is in the museum’s collection. We hope a Hamada Tomoo piece will find its way into
your collection as well.
Here are the links to view the exhibition:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Please note additional photos or information will gladly be sent upon request.

I’ve also been adding scenery photos in many listings to give visitors a sense of place where we are and also just to enjoy the beauty of Japan. Also, as some know, there are often advance
preview photos of works to be offered soon.

As always thank you very much and all the best from Japan.

Clear skies,

Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Robert Yellin Pottery Gallery Newsletter

The Japan Blog List

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From now on I will publish Robert Yellin’s (wit his approval) Pottery Gallery Newsletter because he lives in Numazu City and works in Mishima City, and also sells great pottery, which is great prerequisite to gastronomy!

Greetings from Mishima,

Now in Japan is a time called tsuyu–better known as the rainy season. The weather changes quite dramatically each day withdownpours and sunshine that keeps one in humble awe at the
beauty and life giving force that nature provides.

Something that is more of a constant to bank on though is theheat, something that will surely come when the rainy seasonpasses in a few weeks. Then it’s matsuri-festival time!

With that in mind, we are delighted to offer one ceramic artistwhose works will allow you to keep cool in spirit and mind simplyby gazing upon, or better yet using the vessels; many who followour gallery know him: Ono Kotaro.

These are new works by the very-talented Ono. First, a bit aboutOno(b.1953); winner of the 4th Mashiko Ceramics CompetitionHamada Shoji Prize, he creates sleek, sharp porcelain wares. Yet,what is unique about Ono is that his porcelain has two sides toits character: at first glance, his wares look crisp and cool, like fallen snowdrops. Yet at the same time, he has instilled in
his works a delicate, warm glow that is not often found in porcelain wares. This trait can be seen especially in his three trademark glazes of Seihakuji (Bluish White Porcelain), Hakuji
(Ivory White Porcelain) and Ouji (Creamy Yellow Porcelain). Ono uses shinogi–incised lines and ridges–that give his pieces a wave-like rhythm that is uncommon in “static” porcelain. He has a
keen sense of balance and design, and retains porcelain’s elegance while simultaneously being innovative in his “soft yet sharp warmth.” He teaches ceramics at Takikawa Ceramic Center and
his exhibitions and awards include: The Exhibition of Japanese Traditional Art Crafts in Eastern Japan, Mitsukoshi Award in ’80,’83 and Encouragement Prize, ・6; Japanese Traditional Art
Crafts in Japan, Hokkaido Modern Art Museum, Sapporo’84,’85,’86, Hokkaido Asahikawa Museum’90, Fletcher Challenge, Auckland, New Zealand’94, The Exhibition of Modern Ceramics for Tea-Ceremony, Toki, Gold Prize ’95, Toki Oribe Grand Prize in 2000, Asahi Modern Craft Exhibition, ’99, Creative Sake Cup Exhibition, Grand Prize, 2000, and the aforementioned Hamada Prize, among others.
Mention should be made that an Ono Seihakuji mizusashi (fresh water jar) was acquired by the famous Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation (one of the best Japanese Art collections overseas),
and what’s more, this piece was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum’s Japan Wing.

We are offering previews of the exhibition to all those who have signed our guest book. The links are to follow and will be placed on the gallery for public viewing later this week.
Additional photos of any works will gladly be sent upon request.
Prices are noted in yen and a good web currency exchange web site can be viewed at http://www.xe.com/ucc/

Here are the links:







We hope you enjoy viewing, and acquiring, Ono’s work; a sure wayto beat the summer heat and add a touch of beauty to the day.

Namaste and kansha from Japan.


Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery