This late 20th-century zogan-ware vase was made by the artist Masayuki Imai. It is a rounded, brown-colored vase with a narrow neck and opening. It features a cream-colored bamboo design outlined with fine lines cut into clay; a fan/kite motif is etched out in a similar manner on the back.
Masayuki Imai (b. Osaka 1930) began training to be a ceramicist at the age of 17 in Okayama. He studied bizen ware and practiced dessin (rough sketch) painting. In 1952, Imai moved to Kyoto to study kyo-yaki, Kyoto traditional ceramics, under Yaichi Kusube. Imai's own style, called zogan, combines the natural aesthetic of bizen ware with the elegance of kyo-yaki. After throwing a vase or pot on the wheel, it is allowed to dry to a leathery hardness, into which the pattern is carefully etched. Clay filler is then pressed into the grooves of the design; this inlay process is very demanding, requiring great patience and attention to detail.