Many pieces from The British Museum's "Sawada Chitojin Exhibit" on display now!
Sawada Chitojin was a Japanese-style painter who in his later years became a ceramic artist. Devoting himself to his work as a ceramic designer, unlike other artists he did not like holding exhibits of his work and did not strive to become a famous artist. Instead, he founded the ceramics workshop Imari Touen and worked as a designer and painter, creating ceramic pieces for practical use.
Chitojin's works became known to the world when Lawrence Smith, the head of The British Museum's Japanese Art department, discovered them on his trip to Japan in preparation for an exhibit on traditional Japanese art. Chitojin was the first ever Japanese artist to hold a personal exhibit at The British Museum and the exhibit was a great success!
Sawada Chitojin's works have been preserved by the ceramic artists of Imari Touen who have inherited his techniques, and many pieces have also been replicated. The Chitojin Workshop continues to create ceramic pieces based on Sawada Chitojin's designs which continue to be sold for practical use. Because Chitojin devoted himself to designing ceramics and not to selling his art, there is only one of each of his original pieces in existence.
Here at the Sawada Chitojin Art Museum we have on display many of Chitojin's original pieces, including pieces that were displayed at The British Museum. In Addition to Chitojin's original works, the museum also houses replicas of works now housed in The British Museum created by craftsmen of the Chitojin Workshop, such as Kita Tokusaburo.
The museum also houses pieces by Kataoka Tsurutaro, who trained as an apprentice at Sawada Chitojin's Imari Touen, as well as works by Chitojin's son, Sawada Jun. In the future more pieces by these artists as well as other pieces by Chitojin are schedules to be put on display.
In addition to the pieces on display at the museum, there is also a museum shop which sells replicas created by the Chitojin Workshop as well as works from the Tsurutaro Workshop.