Reminiscent of an excavated Haniwa figure of a house, this museum quality vase is by Koinuma Michio and comes enclosed in the original signed wooden box titled very simply Tsubo. It is an iconic work by this eclectic artist, whose work is entirely unique and easily discernible. It is 27.5 cm (11 inches) square, 37 cm (14-3/4 inches) tall and in excellent condition. Due to size this will require special shipping consideration.
Koinuma Michio is a compelling figure unique among contemporary artists. He seems to have no limit to his imagination and creativity, still dazzling us with new concepts after four decades. Born in the hectic war years in 1936, he is incredibly intelligent, graduating the economics department of Osaka University, then on to Waseda, one of the top three schools in Japan, for graduate studies in economics and politics. Relinquishing that life he opened a kiln in Mashiko in 1970. Since 1978 he has been consistently displayed at the best galleries in Japan, as well as overseas. For more see Contemporary Japanese Ceramics Fired with Passion (ISBN -10: 1-891640-38-0) or To volume 10, which is dedicated entirely to him.
The image is based on Haniwa funerary objects. The Haniwa are terracotta clay figures of people, animals, and houses which were deposited at Japanese tombs during the Kofun period (3rd to 6th century) in Japan. Haniwa were created according to the wazumi technique, in which mounds of coiled clay were built up to shape the figure, layer by layer. Michio follows that style, then through a process of multiple firing and various techniques degrades the surface to create the feeling of antiquity. A strikingly similar image is published, figure 18, in the anthology Toh, volume 10. According to the encyclopedia of Ancient History many Haniwa are particularly detailed in their execution and thus provide a valuable insight into the culture of the period. Standing over one metre in height, the mysterious figures are a striking example of early Japanese sculpture.