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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)


Photo: Kani Hazuki



Tanaka Yu

Japanese, born 1989

Tanaka Yu, a young woman artist based in Kyoto, recently created a series of clay sculptures in the shape of furoshiki (knotted wrapping cloth). The folds and shape suggest that an object is wrapped inside, provoking us to imagine what might be kept under wraps. The bright yellow color refers to the yellow cloth often used to wrap a ceramic vessel in its storage box. This distinctive color is a result of multiple coats of pigment, which, unlike traditional ceramic glaze, is a painting pigment. Lying deeper in Tanaka Yu’s artistic intention is her questioning of ceramic vessels’ functionality and her creation of forms encapsulating both space and time.
Matte-glazed stoneware
24 3/8 x 16 1/2 x 16 1/2 in. (61.9 x 41.9 x 41.9 cm)
Gift of Gordon Brodfuehrer in honor of the Monsen family
Provenance: The artist; [Joan B Mirviss LTD, New York]; purchased from gallery by Gordon Brodfuehrer, San Diego, California, 2020; to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 2020
Photo: Kani Hazuki
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryNew York, New York, Joan B Mirviss LTD, Mysteries in Clay by Tanaka Yu, May 15 - June 30, 2020. Reproduced p. 6, no. 11236.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Folding into Shape: Japanese Design and Crafts, Sept. 18, 2021 - Sept. 25, 2022.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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