Sunday, February 22, 2009

Climbing the Mountain


Rosanjin
Plate
maple-leaf pattern,
overglaze enamels, and underglaze iron.


Going through my boxes of stuff, I finally found the books I thought I had lost or misplaced. A while back I promised to share a story that I recalled from my bio of Ogata Kenzan. Well, it turns out I had it all wrong. It is a quote from Rosanjin, whose real name was Fusajiro Kitaoji. It comes from the book"Uncommon Clay: The Life and Pottery of Rosanjin" by Sidney B. Cordoza/Misaaki Hirano. I read this quote as I dedicated and lighted the first fire of my, then, brand new kiln in 2002. It summed up the experience I had with building the kiln and now is again appropriate at this stage of studio construction.

It happens to everyone who climbs Mt. Fuji. When you reach the last station or two, you push on excitedly, the members of you party encouraging one another despite their weariness, everyone aware that the peak is near. Then it happens. Looking up, you catch sight of a corner of the mountain and decide that this must be the peak at last. Pulling yourself together, you climb on in high spirits, only to find, to your consternation, another corner rising above the first. Surely this is it, you think, and climb hopefully on, but again the mountain does not stop. Only after several rounds of this sort of thing does one reach the top.

The ascent is difficult, but anyone with mettle enough to climb will surely conquer all difficulties and reach the peak.

For whatever reason, once a person reaches the steep places of life, all too often he or she turns back to where the going was easier. Of course, in life's climbing expedition there is no peak, no limit to how high you can go. There is always a higher level, always a more elevated plane.


Rosanjin
Plate
underglaze iron