Arthur M Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art - The National Museum of Asian Art - Smithsonian Institution
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The Decorative Modes of the Kenzan Style
The Kenzan Style
Flowers and grasses that resonate with the imagery of classical Japanese poetry—plum, bamboo, chrysanthemum, pampas grass, bush clover, camellia, and iris—are the common denominator of Kenzan-ware decoration. The painting manner is marked by flatness, frontality—great abbreviation. This approach is associated with the painting mode called Rimpa, a school linked to Kenzan's older brother Korin. Kenzan ware harmonized Rimpa design elements with clay, slip, and pigments to create simple but eye-catching arrangements that departed from the more ornate schemes in other contemporary ceramics. The "Kenzan mode" was consolidated at the downtown Chojiyamachi kiln, where it suited the busy workshop's repertory of standardized shapes. This mode formed the basis for mass-produced Kenzan wares over the years.

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