Excerpts: Wada Morihiro

Sen-Mon, Keisei-Mon Series 蟬文・千文 ・ 繋千文 (1992-1995)
August 9, 2023
Excerpts: Wada Morihiro

Pictured above is a vessel "Kei-Sen-Mon-Ki 繋千文器", made in circa 1992. This technique, which Wada has named "Sen Mon Ki" has poetic undertones. In the excerpt below, Wada describes why he has chosen the character "千" which represents one thousand. The geometric patterns skillfully mixes sharp and rounded linework in this composition creates a symphonic flourish of color to the viewer.


"At the time, the problem I was facing was how to create a pattern while preserving the feel of the soft clay. One of the methods I tried was to draw patterns on the surface by poking dots on the surface, apply a thin layer of white slip, and then fire it. The kiln I was using at the time was a climbing kiln burning miscellaneous wood, which contained a small amount of foreign wood, so the salt content in the wood acted on it and gave me the effect I wanted. The main motif I used was cicada. Although the motif has not yet become a definite pattern, there are signs of a tendency for the direction of the form to be guided by the pattern.

While I was visiting the house where the work was being photographed and talking with the owner and the woman in charge of editing, it occurred to me that I should use the name Sen-Mon 千文 for the style of work I was working on.

The character for "thousand," 千 which evokes the sound of semi (cicada), seemed to be a good fit for a pattern of complex interlocking lines, and I also liked the appearance of the character with a small number of strokes. In some of the articles I wrote for the special feature, I included the incident that led me to use cicada as a motif.

It is interesting to note that cicadas reappear after a gap of about 20 years, somewhat similar to the ecology of butterflies that have been lurking in the ground for many years. I think that in ancient China, cicadas were used as a sign of rebirth.

The "Sen-Mon" developed and color was added, and it became "Kei-Sen-Mon"繋千文. The meaning of the word 繋 is "connect" in Japanese. The black lines were thicker and more connected. The reason is that it was born from a Sen-Mon 千文."

Translation provided by Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd. 

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Kristie Lui

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