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Fanciful Banko

Japanese Ceramics

June 21, 2013 - June 21, 2013

Curated by Barry Till | Founders Gallery

The Banko pieces produced in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are quaint and charming and were quite popular as export items. There is such a preponderance of styles, shapes and decorations of Banko ware. They have been described as imaginative, bizarre, whimsical, fantastic, and charming but sometimes a bit grotesque.

Shapes varied from the most common shape of the teapot to vases, flat wall flower vases, bowls, oil and mustard pots, pitchers, planters, dishes, ginger jars, cups, cigarholders (humidors), kogo incense boxes, bottles and sculptures (some with nodding heads).  Some teapots are in the actual shape of an animal like dogs, cats, monkeys, badgers, raccoon dog, elephants; marine-life like fish and frogs; and birds like ducks, hawks, quails and sparrows as well as plant forms like squash. The motifs on these wares, which are cleverly executed and often amusing, can be incised, impressed, enamelled, moulded, made in relief or a combination of them all.  

The later Banko potters were geniuses of designs whose whimsical and skillful creations are as fresh and full of vitality today as they were when they were created in the late 19th and early 20th century.  The Carol Potter Peckham collection (numbering over one hundred pieces) in the exhibition shows ample testimony of their artistic creativity and sense of humour.  It is hoped that people viewing this exhibition and the accompanying publication will have fun with the whimsy of the potters.

We are grateful to Silk Road of Victoria for sponsoring this exhibition.

About the collector

Carol Potter Peckham was born in Vancouver and moved to Victoria in 1949 with her parents, Russell and Louella Potter, and her brother, Robert.  She attended Victoria College and graduated in 1952 from the University of British Columbia.

She has lived in California since 1954 and began collecting Banko ware during the years that she was on the staff of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.  She found many of the pieces in California and others in her travels around the world.

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