Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Preview image of work. stoneware,  Plate ("Bamboo Grove on a Moonlit Night") 10547


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Plate ("Bamboo Grove on a Moonlit Night")


Tomimoto Kenkichi (1886 - 1963)


Plate ("Bamboo Grove on a Moonlit Night")

Creation Date

ca. 1925-1935


early 20th century


1 15/16 in. x 10 5/16 in. (4.92 cm. x 26.19 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

Asia, Japan

Medium and Support


Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Herbert S. Ingraham


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number


This unassuming plate, freely painted with a moonlit pastoral scene, evokes traditional Japanese ceramics, yet is distinctly modern. Its creator, Tomimoto Kenkichi, was widely revered in Japan and among the first group of craftspeople designated Living National Treasures in 1955. Unlike traditional potters who served long apprenticeships, Tomimoto attended art school and studied in England, where he learned firsthand about the Arts and Crafts movement. With Bernard Leach, Hamada Shōji, and Yanagi Sōetsu, he founded mingei (translated as Folk Art), a movement that sought to revive Japanese folk craft as an antidote to industrialization. The Bowdoin plate embodies mingei philosophy in being handmade and utilitarian, and in its direct reference to the natural world in both materials and imagery. Through the pottery and writings of Leach, mingei became foundational to the studio craft movement in the United Kingdom and North America in the post–World War II decades. Sequoia Miller Chief Curator, Gardiner Museum, Toronto