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Arts of Asia

The MFAH collections of art from China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia reflect Houston’s diverse communities. Ancient and contemporary works are displayed together to create innovative juxtapositions.


© Miyashita Zenji
Japanese, born 1939
Domed Vase

18 3/4 x 23 1/2 x 8 9/16 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Nippon Steel USA, Inc., and the
Japan Business Association of Houston

Arts of Asia

Miyashita Zenji applied extremely thin layers of colored clay to the body of this vase. The technique creates an overlap that, when paired with a gradient color palette ranging from dark purple to pale yellow to light pink, evokes sunrise over a hazy mountain range.

The son of ceramic artist Miyashita Zenju, Miyashita Zenji began working with celadon ceramics at a young age and has been been employing a procedure called saidei in his work since the early 1980s. Saidei involves layering paper-thin sheets of colored clay over one another to create a relief effect along the body of the vessel. Zenji typically uses a gradated range of colors, and his work demonstrates a strong appreciation of nature, often calling to mind distant hills, sunsets, drifting clouds, or rolling waves.