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pricey pots, some background (maybe)

updated mon 7 oct 02


Richard Mahaffey on sat 5 oct 02


I can understand where you come from when you talk about all that money
could feed a village for .......

In the case of Imaemon he has several dozens of employees so it does
feed a village for however long. I wonder since you live in Vegas if
you get the same
feeling from the Casinos where they do not trade a tangible product for
all that money.

At least in Japan Imaemon as a Living National Treasure (LNT) is passing
on a traditional skill that has been in his family since the Dutch
started buying pots
in Japan all those centuries ago. The pot I saw was part of a long
unbroken line of work and tradition that was started over 250 or 300
years ago.
Taken in that context perhaps the price is not so high.

Also Imaemon taught in the Arita area art university and taught the very
techniques that are used and have been used for hundreds of years.
When one is a LNT you end up with two jobs, one is doing your work and
the other is spending time meeting with visitors, such as I was. It is
a tiring job for
someone at the age one is when you get to be a LNT.

In '96 when Fujiwara Yu was named LNT he was only 63. My friend, who
was the personal apprentice to Suzuki Uichi a LNT from Kyoto asked me
what I
I wondered if this was a time when I needed to be careful about putting
my foot in my mouth, so I thought and said, "I have not seen much of his
work so I
don't really know".

My Japanese friend asked if there was anything else. I said well....
he seems awfully young to be a LNT. My friend said "Exactly"

Also the clay, glaze and wood, or gas cost many times what they cost

Anyway I am rambling but since I lived in Japan I at once understand
more about Japan and know that I really do not know much at all. I
hope this helps you
feel better and gives a little context to the way things are priced in

Rick Mahaffey