Touching Stone Gallery logo

Touching Stone Gallery   Santa Fe, USA


Tadashi Nishihata

Spirit of the Mountain  (March 13 - Apr 28, 2004)


See more of this artist's work in:

Nishihata's 2003 show  2004 show  2006 show  2008 show  2010 show  2013 show

Tadashi Nishihata American Debut Solo Exhibition 2004
Tadashi Nishihata  西端正

Touching Stone Gallery is honored to host the first major solo exhibition in America of an extraordinary body of work of Tadashi Nishihata. In addition to his legendary Aka-dobe-yu (red clay glaze) finish, Nishihata created a spectacular series of platters entitled the "Spirit of the Mountain" collection specially for this show. They are designed with 'feet' to be hung like paintings on the wall to vividly capture the artist’s vision of the changing seasons.

Nestled in a beautiful valley along the Shitodani River that runs through towering mountains northwest of Kyoto is the picturesque village Tachikui, historically known as Tanba, one of the six oldest pottery centers in Japan. The rich ferrous soil in this area has supported generations of farmers and artisans since the Kamakura period (1180 - 1230). The oldest existing noborigama (climbing kilns) in Japan are still used here. This beautiful setting inspires the spectacular ceramics by Tanba master Tadashi Nishihata, whose work is featured here in his America debut at the Touching Stone Gallery.

Tadashi Nishihata (b. 1948) came from a family steeped in Tanba pottery traditions. His great great great grandfather Ichifusa was a master potter known for his figurative sake bottles in the late Edo period (early 19th century). Nishihata’s father, Sueharu (b. 1926), is a respected ceramist who has exhibited extensively. The long historic and familial background provides tremendous depth for Nishihata’s exploration in ceramic art.

Among Nishihata’s many contributions to Tanba pottery is his rediscovery of an ancient Tanba finish, called Aka-dobe-yu. In the early Edo period (1603 – 1867), some Tanba potters applied a certain type of mud onto their pots to prevent leakage. To their delight, the patched areas turned a deep chestnut-red color after firing. Inexplicably, pottery with this beautiful chestnut-red color was made for only 20 to 30 years, after which the method for creating it was lost. Since then, numerous potters have tried to reproduce this ancient finish without success. Nishihata experimented for more than 30 years using different clay and firing techniques to re-create the Aka-dobe-yu finish. In 2001, he successfully produced the deep chestnut-red Aka-dobe-yu finish on his pottery.

Nishihata draws inspirations from nature. Every winter, west wind blowing from the Sea of Japan brings snow to the mountains around Tanba, transforming the valley into a wonderland of frosted rocks and forests. When spring comes, melting snow turns the rivers and streams into turquoise and emerald rainbows, as green shoots emerge from the rich black soil. Nishihata wants to express the feelings of changing seasons through his ceramic work, using a wood-firing kiln and natural materials from his surroundings. In the past 15 years, he has been experimenting with glazes made from various materials, including ashes from different types of wood and even rice stalks. This experience allows Nishihata to use fire with as much expressiveness as a painter’s colors, to create spectacular abstract ‘landscapes’ on his ceramic works.

Nishihata attributes the beautiful texture of his work to a special type of clay that he discovered some years ago while hiking in a remote area in the mountains. This clay has just the right viscosity for sculpting dramatic landscapes by cutting facets (mentori) and ridgelines (ryo-sen) into his pieces.


The lopped tree in time may grow again
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower
The sorest wight may find release of pain
 The driest soil suck in some moist'ning shower
Times go by turns and chances change by course
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse
                       -  Robert Southwell

Nishibata_Vase22_Wd.jpg (49633 bytes)

Nishibata_Vase22_Wa.jpg (73313 bytes)

Nishibata_Vase22_Wb.jpg (45567 bytes)
"Times Go by Turns"
Mentori ceramic vase #22 w/ Aka-dobe-yu finish
13.5"H x 14.5"D (3 views) 

Nishibata_Vase17_Wb.jpg (26996 bytes)Nishibata_Vase17_Wa.jpg (28953 bytes)

Nishibata_IncenseBurner_Wa.jpg (92868 bytes)Nishibata_IncenseBurner_Wb.jpg (43541 bytes)

Ceramic vase #17 w/ natural ash glaze
6 7.5"H x 6" x 6" (2 views) 

Incense burner #8 w/ lid
4"H x 5.5" x 5.5" (2 views) 

Nishibata_UntitledVase_Wb.jpg (212541 bytes)Nishibata_UntitledVase_Wa.jpg (250627 bytes)

Nishibata_Windswept_Wa.jpg (110909 bytes)Nishibata_Windswept_Wc.jpg (86145 bytes)

Ceramic vase #10 w/ natural ash glaze
10"H x 5" x 4.5" (2 views) 

Ceramic vase #11 w/ natural ash glaze
9"H x 3.5" x 3.5" (2 views) 

Nishibata_Plate2_Wa.jpg (71316 bytes) Nishibata_Plate16_Wa.jpg (62789 bytes)
"Pond in Spring"
Ceramic platter #2   15" x 15" x 3" 

"Blue Mist" 
Ceramic platter   15.5" x 15.5" x 2.5" 

Nishibata_Plate3_Wa.jpg (49756 bytes) Nishibata_Plate15_Wa.jpg (26684 bytes)
Ceramic platter #3   15.5" x 9" x 3" 

Ceramic platter #15   11" x 11" x 2"  

Nishibata_Plate14_Wa.jpg (189122 bytes) Nishibata_Plate4_Wa.jpg (37111 bytes)
"Three Rivers"
Ceramic platter #14   10.5" x 11" x 2" 

"First Snow"
  Ceramic platter #4   18.5" x 7.5" x 2.5" 

Nishibata_Plate5_Wa.jpg (51236 bytes) Nishibata_Plate6_Wa.jpg (54067 bytes)
"Spirit of the Mountain No.5"
Ceramic platter #5 9" x 9" x 2.5"  

"Spirit of the Mountain No.6" 
Ceramic platter #6 10.5" x 7" x 2"  

Nishibata_Plate12_La.jpg (32143 bytes) Nishibata_Plate13_La.jpg (48323 bytes)
"Spirit of the Mountain No.12" 
Ceramic platter #12 7.5" x 7.5" x 2"  

"Spirit of the Mountain No.13" 
Ceramic platter #13 9" x 9" x 2"  

Nishibata_MentoriVase_Wa.jpg (39755 bytes)Nishibata_MentoriVase_Wb.jpg (38107 bytes)

Nishibata_SakeBottle18_Wb.jpg (23207 bytes)Nishibata_SakeBottle18_Wa.jpg (42849 bytes)

Mentori Tokkuri/Vase #9
5.5"H x 4.5" x 4.5" (2 views) 

 Mentori Tokkuri/Vase #18
7.5" H x 5.5" x 5.5" (2 views)   

Nishibata_TeaBowl9_Wa.jpg (30536 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl9_Wb.jpg (31679 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl9_Wc.jpg (43325 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl9_Wd.jpg (41513 bytes)
Tea Bowl #28 w/ Aka-dobe-yu finish (4 views)
4"H x 4.5" x 4.5" w/ box 

Nishibata_TeaBowl7_Wa.jpg (35264 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl7_Wb.jpg (29931 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl7_Wc.jpg (87976 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl7_Wd.jpg (33674 bytes)
Tea Bowl #29 w/ Hai-yu glaze (4 views)
4"H x 4.5" x 4.5" w/ box  

Nishibata_TeaBowl8_Wa.jpg (34197 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl8_Wb.jpg (37350 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl8_Wc.jpg (48399 bytes)Nishibata_TeaBowl8_Wd.jpg (37327 bytes)
Tea Bowl #8 w/ Hai-yu glaze (4 views)
4"H x 4.5" x 4.5" w/ box  

TadashiNishibata_TeaCaddy2_La.jpg (49186 bytes)TadashiNishibata_TeaCaddy2_Lc.jpg (30382 bytes)
Tea Caddy #2 (2 views)
3.25"H x 2.25"D   

Nishibata_SakeCup23.24_Wa.jpg (24370 bytes)Nishibata_SakeCups25.26_Wa.jpg (15529 bytes)Nishibata_SakeCup27_Wa.jpg (22194 bytes)
Guinomi (Sake cups) #23, #24, #25, #26, #27 with Hai-yu glaze Approx. 2 - 2.6"H
All Sold