Thursday, June 30, 2011
Two views looking from the Miho Museum. The architect has made full use of the wonderful site in the mountains with all the lovely peach and maple trees. The view through the door towards the tunnel marks the end of a very interesting visit to the museum. I still have a couple of pictures of the tunnel, and the surrounds to the reception area, to post.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The Miho Museum has a wonderful collection of Ogata Kenzan's work. It was not on display when I visited but these scans of postcards of the square plate with the 'Peony' design and the decorated 'Mukozuke' dishes may give an idea of the quality of the collection. The museum published a book "Appetising Beauty - Kenzan and Seasonal Dishes" which won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for the "Best Photography in the World" in 2005. It is still available from the Museum shop and, if your interest is in Kenzan, photography, or Japanese cooking, then you should buy a copy.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
These pots are part of the permanent collection at Miho. The red raku tea bowl is by Honnami Koetsu and the large tsubo is a 15th. Century Shigaraki piece. It has a natural ash glaze from being fired in an anagama kiln and stands over 500mm tall. Some of the pots in the exhibition that was on when I visited were even taller.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The exhibition that was on when I visited the Miho Museum was of pots from the Six Ancient Kilns and some other early kilns of the 12th. to 14th. Century. Photography of the exhibition pots was not permitted but I have scanned some postcards and will post pictures later. This pot was in the foyer with a large floral arrangement. The world renowned French architect, I. M. Pei, designed the buildings and landscape in sympathy with "The thinking of the Japanese people and their traditions". The Miho website is worth a look at
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
From Himeji City I travelled to Kyoto and the next day went to the Miho Museum. This museum is situated amongst peach and maple forests in the hills near Shigaraki. It was early for the autumn colours in Japan but it was easy to imagine what it would look like in a week or twos time. The entry tunnel was something special as well. It was a ten minute walk up to the museum or you could take a ride in a small electric cart from the reception area to the museum.
Monday, June 20, 2011
These are the last two images of Himeji City. The plates outside this restaurant, together with the beautiful calligraphy, made a very attractive entry way. The Murasaki Shikibu berries were growing outside a building on the main street. My poor plant has never had berries like these and struggles to cope with the frosty conditions we have here.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
This is the sculpture outside the Himeji Railway Station that I mentioned before. As well as the Castle the station is having alterations and renovations done which is why the background is under wraps. This new building on the main street is quite spectacular but I have no idea what it is used for. Shops at ground level and office space above I guess but as it was closed I was unable to explore further.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Otemae Street is Himeji City's main street and it runs from the railway station to the lovely White Heron Castle. It is by far the prettiest main street that I have seen. It is very wide and tree lined for its full length. At the station end is a large water feature with an abstract sculpture and about every fifty metres or so there is a life sized sculpture often depicting children.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
On the way through the Himeji Park area there is this building by Kenzo Tange. From inside it overlooks the Castle and the floor of the main foyer has been paved with a green stone upon which the whole area of Himeji has been etched. Not very easy to follow when you cannot read Japanese Kanji.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Himeji Castle is being refurbished and access to parts of it will be restricted until 2014. Fortunately Estelle and I were taken on an extensive tour of the castle on one of our earlier visits. The areas surrounding the Castle are laid out as beautiful park like walkways. There is a fairly new toilet block that I was told cost about one million dollars. Outside there was a lovely stainless steel sculpture which may or may not have been included in the costs.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A couple of views near Himeji Castle. I think the gateway is a marvellous structure and I am always amazed at the amount of stone-work around the moat and in the castle foundations. I was sent a photograph recently showing some very early stone-work in England. It was remarkably similar to that seen in Japan using an almost identical sloped structure for strength and durability.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
When I was travelling with David in the U.K. I remarked on the clarity of their road signs. After my return David sent me an extract from the book "Just My Type" which explained the process by which Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir developed their "Transport" type-face and colouring for the U.K. road signs. As potters generally are thought to be a little odd, I can see why David did not take me to any of these places. This photo was sent to me by my friend Philip Smith, a landscape gardener from Auckland, who had spent some time in the Penzance area of U.K.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
This is the second of Tadao Ando's buildings we visited in Himeji City. The entrance is not very impressive but the grounds and building inside were spectacular. The reflecting pool is one of two in the grounds and, it seems, they are often a feature of Ando's work.