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The ceramic work of Japanese master Sugimoto Sadamitsu (b.1935) is the subject of an exhibition at the Frank Lloyd Gallery, opening February 18. The 77-year old Sugimoto’s works present the first show of his work on the West Coast in the United States, and only the second show in the United States.The 16 selected works focus on highly coveted tea ceremony wares by Sugimoto Sadamitsu.

Sugimoto is regarded as a living master of the Iga style, and has received many honors in Japan. For instance, Sugimoto’s coveted work was shown in a 1989 exhibition that also celebrated the 400th anniversary of legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu’s passing. During the same year of 1989, the famed Japanese Tea scholar Hayashiya Seizo selected Sugimoto’s pieces for use in a movie, titled Rikyu, about tea master Sen no Rikyu.This honor is significant; it was through the teachings of Sen no Rikyu that the tea ceremony came to be a highly studied aesthetic ritual and a way of life. Over four centuries old, the Japanese tea ceremony is at the basis of traditional Japanese culture, and epitomizes its highest cultural values.

The 16 pieces in the exhibit range from a rugged Shigaraki mizusashi (water jar) to flower vases and tea bowls.Descending from Iga Momoyama masterpieces, the works are all ceramic objects used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Iga wares have a rugged presence that results from an intense wood firing and often feature a crack, or other chance results of the process. The blackened ash from the wood firing is accompanied by glassy green ash glaze, which pools and drips on the surface of the vessels.

His work is in public collections in Japan as well as the Brooklyn Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Japanese Pavilion.