What is Tosaiga?
Tosaiga is a completely original type of art. It is a kind of ceramic painting produced by utilizing the conventional techniques of Arita ware porcelain as well as original concepts and techniques. As the result of over 20 years of research, it has garnered high acclaim.
In Tosaiga, a sheet of white ceramic serves as the canvas on which a picture is painted with glaze. This is then fired in a kiln. A different color is then painted on top of the first and fired again. This process is repeated more than 10 times in order to complete a picture.
The intricate work of bringing together hues and designs involved in painting each piece is not the only part of the process that requires precision and patience. The entire production process is very intense, from regulation of the kiln temperature to allocation of time, and requires a high level of concentration. Nevertheless, once the piece is put into the kiln, there is an element one cannot control as it enters a world beyond human speculation in which the piece is “entrusted to the fire”. The completed work at times far surpasses the artist’s original image, releasing a brilliant light.
The blending of glazes that occurs in the kiln creates an element of mystery in the colors, and the exact same color can never be recreated.
A beautiful sunset or a rainbow can provide a glimpse into our hopes for the future.
There are moments like these when our tightly closed hearts become light and open up. No matter how hard things get, everyone has the ability to see the joy in living when they are exposed to something of beauty. Art has a role to play in helping to find that kind of happiness. The German composer Robert Schumann once said that the mission of an artist is to “send light into the darkness of man’s hearts”. The French novelist Romain Rolland said it is to “create sunshine when the sun fails”. Tosaiga is light, pure and simple. May that stream of light fill your heart and become your road to happiness.
As paintings, Tosaiga are at their core exceptional works of art. These works depict benevolent worlds of the Bodhisattva and Kannon the Goddess of Mercy, powerfully dynamic worlds filled with dragons, fenghuang (mythical birds of East Asia) and pheonixes, and worlds of color that draw out the beauty of true color.
The fact that these paintings are created with ceramics produces what has been called a “radiant wonder”. Because this universal beauty lasts forever, they have been highly acclaimed as works whose value is comparable to jewels.