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azuma gallery, nyc exhibition of antique asian ceramics, 1/3 - 2-15

updated sun 4 jan 98


Jack Troy on sat 3 jan 98

It was a pleasure to visit Azuma Gallery last week, after a log absence.
Located at 50 Walker St (212/925-1381), near Chinatown, the gallery features a
variety of museum-quality ceramics from China, Japan, and Korea. It is a rare
opportunity to see and handle such things as a classic temmoku teabowl from the
Song Dynasty, and covered jars from the Han period, as well as a Haniwa figure,
and several Tang Dynasty tomb figures. A hakeme teabowl, Middle Joman vessel,
and several nezumi (mouse-colored) shino pieces were also treats to examine
Mr. and Mrs Azuma have an excellent eye for fine ceramics (she, in fact is a
potter herself; he is a painter and collector of antique Japanese swords). A
superb Haniwa warrior of theirs recently sold to a museum in Japan.
Merely LOOKING at ceramics through glass cases is the next best thing to seeing
them pictured in books, but HANDLING them is the only way to become more fully
informed about what they are; after all, that is how they were made.
It's such a simple and amazing experience: picking up a 10,000 year old Joman
vessel and sensing whose hands have been where yours are at the moment. Don't
you just _know_ curators drink tea from those exquisite bowls after hours at the
Freer, the DeYoung, and the Met?! Touch tells, even illicit touch tells!
I strongly recommend visiting this wonderful gallery if you have the chance
between now and February 15th when the show closes.
Jack Troy