While this is not a focus issue, this December TAASA Review has developed its own distinct flavour, with a number of articles covering ceramics from the East Asian region. One reason for this is the excellent symposium held on 9 August by the TAASA Ceramics Study Group to honour Jackie Menzies, recently retired as Head Curator, Asian Art at the AGNSW. The topic was Made to Order: Trade Ceramics from East to West, and this issue has published articles based on the three presentations from the symposium.
Jackie Menzies focuses on Kosometsuk ware, underglaze blue and white porcelains exported from China to Japan in the late Ming. Made especially for the new practice of tea called chanoyu, Kosometsuke ware responded to the distinctive tea aesthetic valued by daimyo and tea masters, with its often eccentric shapes, sparse designs and deliberate artlessness and imperfections.
Porcelains were exported in vast numbers to Europe from China and then Japan from the 1500s. James MacKean examines a particular development in the early 18th century when the supply of Japanese overglazed enamel ware dried up in the face of mass produced, lower cost porcelains from China. Because the demand for Japanese Kakiemon and richer Imari styles was still high, English and Dutch enamellers started to over-decorate plain white or blue and white Chinese pieces in this palette, enhancing their value.
The final presentation by Daniel McOwan, Director of the Hamilton Art Gallery, rounded off the symposium by providing an overview of Kakiemon ware, made in Arita in Japan. Based on an exhibition of 48 high quality Kakiemon pieces now in the Hamilton Art Gallery collection, Danny provided an immensely useful description of the various types of Kakiemon ware, how and why they were produced and how they may be differentiated from each other.
Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province has been the primary place for porcelain production in China since the Yuan period, and this is still the case today. Georgina Hooper is a painter and ceramicist who recently spent time there as an artist in residence, picking up skills from local artisans and progressing a number of her projects. The outcome has been an exhibition in Brisbane this year. I’m sure you will enjoy her reflections on her experiences working in Jingdezhen and on the works in her exhibition.
This year’s ST Lee Lecture at Sydney University presented by Professor Qin Dashu from Peking University reminds us of a period in the 9th and 10th centuries when China was part of a complex pattern of international trade in ceramics and other items. John Millbank provides an excellent overview of Prof Qin’s talk, which summarised recent research into the role of Sri Vijaya in Sumatra as the entrepôt for trade extending from China to West Asia.
For this December issue, we provide a selective survey of eight perhaps less well known Asian collections in Australia – collections you may want to visit in the holiday period. Pamela Bell covers the Newcastle Art Gallery’s modern Japanese ceramic collection which she regards as the most distinguished of its kind in Australia. Her article focuses on the work of a somewhat earlier ceramic artist, a sake cup made by the Buddhist nun Rengetsu, recently donated to the Newcastle Art Gallery.
Robyn Butlin covers the elaborate imperial Jade carriage, made of 300 tonnes of carved green serpentine stone, now displayed in the Bendigo Golden Dragon Museum. Some readers may have seen this carriage when it was displayed for some years in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney after being gifted to Australia by the People’s Republic of China for the 1988 Bicentenary.
Two more items round off this issue. Tarun Nagesh provides an interview with Tenzin Choegyal, the force behind the Festival of Tibet which will run this January at the Brisbane Powerhouse in Brisbane. In our book review, Sylvia Xavier skilfully summarises some of the central ideas presented by 15 contributors, including scholars in the fields of anthropology, art history and curatorship. Asia through Art and Anthropology is an exploration of ‘border crossing’ in the production, contextualisation and cultural analysis of Asian art and, as Sylvia points out, its inclusion of the viewpoint of three artists from different Asian cultural traditions helps to ground the discussion.
Finally, we devote several pages in this issue to the many activities held by TAASA in the last three months. We hope you enjoy the photos, especially of our very successful celebration of the 20th anniversary of the TAASA Textile Study Group.
A very happy and safe festive season to all TAASA members. We hope to share another year of stimulating and enjoyable events in 2015.
4 KOSOMETSUKE - OLD BLUE AND WHITE
7 EUROPEAN DECORATION ON EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ORIENTAL PORCELAIN
10 KAKIEMON: ONLY AN EXPORT PORCELAIN?
13 TENZIN CHOEGYAL AND THE BRISBANE FESTIVAL OF TIBET
Tenzin Choegyal and Tarun Nagesh
15 FINE CHINA – NEW DIRECTIONS FOR JINGDEZHEN
18 THE ROLE OF SRI VIJAYA IN EARLY INTERNATIONAL TRADE:
2014 ST LEE LECTURE BY PROFESSOR QIN DASHU
20 IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN: OTAGAKI RENGETSU AT THE NEWCASTLE ART GALLERY
21 THE CHINESE JADE CARRIAGE IN BENDIGO GOLDEN DRAGON MUSEUM
22 ASIAN COLLECTIONS IN AUSTRALIA
26 BOOK REVIEW: ASIA THROUGH ART AND ANTHROPOLOGY
27 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
29 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY: DECEMBER 2014 – FEBRUARY 2015
30 WHAT’S ON: DECEMBER 2014 – FEBRUARY 2015
Compiled by Tina Burge