Kiyoshi Saito 斎藤清: Haniwa (7)

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Artist: Kiyoshi Saito 斎藤清 (1907-1997)
Title: Haniwa (7)
Date: ca. 1952

Haniwa are funerary ceramics from the Kofun era (300-552 CE);  “haniwa” means clay cylinder, which refers to their tubular construction. Many haniwa forms are clearly human figures; this one seems to offer us a very charming smile indeed. Saito had access to a large collection of haniwa while working for the Tokyo National Museum; he exhibited his first of about 30 haniwa designs in 1951. As Rhiannon Paget writes, “The abstract human and animal forms of haniwa allowed Saito to move beyond naturalism while still creating representational works. Haniwa also inspired the artists Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi. Titled “Haniwa (6)” in pencil by the artist, lower margin.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Tiny spot in margin at right.
Dimensions: 37.8 x 24 cm
Publisher: Self-published
Seal: artist’s seal “Kiyoshi” in red (verso)
Signature: Kiyoshi Saito (in white pigment)

Literature: For an excellent overview of haniwa as subject, see Saitô Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening by Rhiannon Paget, page 108.