One of the highlights of my trip to Japan in October 2016 was a visit to the Miho Museum near Shigaraki, in Shiga Prefecture, and about an hour outside of Kyoto.
The museum itself was amazing, beginning with a walk or ride though a long tunnel to reach the museum building which is actually partially buried under a mountain. Architect I.M. Pei removed a mountain or hill to create the building site for the museum, and then he returned the dirt, trees and shrubs to restore most of the natural pre-build landscape. The exhibition space inside the building is superb. When I was there one of the exhibits was a fabulous display of 18th. century ceramics by Ogata Kenzan which are owned by the same mother and daughter who provided the funding for the museum.
But enough about the museum; this is a blog about hashioki.
It just so happens that I got a fabulous hashioki at the Miho Museum. It is a handmade, artisan-created hashioki, made by a husband who is a ceramicist and a wife who is a painter. It is signed “Ametsuchi” in hiragana on the bottom. As you can see, it is in the shape of an open book, and the pages are so detailed that you almost think you can turn them. The hashioki features some traditional Japanese design motifs: running grass script, flowers, and a deer. The piece is either one-of-a-kind or maybe one-of-a-few-of-a-kind, which seems very appropriate for a one-of-a-kind museum like the Miho Museum. I don’t know if the piece relates to an item in the museum’s collection (like the hashioki from the MOA Museum in Atami featured in my post “Smart Merchandising” in January 2016), but I treasure it anyway.