Art and Archaeology: The Tsuchigama Project
One-day Symposium Saturday, August 8, 9 am - 5 pm

Tsuchigama or “dirt kiln” is recognized by scholars as Japan’s earliest high-fire kiln type. It fell out of use over 700 years ago when the Anagama kiln became popular and has not been in ceramic practice since. Japanese sculptor Tadashi Hirakawa and a team of archaeologists have uncovered and excavated sites of ancient tsuchigamas and have been collaborating for several years to recreate the ancient kiln type. The team has successfully made and used two tsuchigamas in Bizen, Japan and is working hard to revive the techniques and styles associated with the tsuchigama, such as Bizen-ware, as a contemporary art practice.

This summer, Tadashi Hirakawa travelled to the US and teamed up Chris Powell (TCU Associate Professor of Art) to create a tsuchigama in Sevier County, Arkansas. With the help of two students from Japan, Yukiko Akai and Tomoko Sakamoto, and two TCU students, Sydney Williams and Courtney Hamilton, the tsuchigama was built in the hillsides of Southwest Arkansas where natural resources were pulled from the land.

Today we celebrate this collaborative project and to draw attention to this ancient ceramic practice with a one-day symposium to discuss old and new style Bizen-ware and the longer term potential of reviving the tsuchigama. Alongside the symposium, an exhibition of old style Bizen-ware and new works made in the Arkansas kiln by Yukiko Akai, Tadahsi Hirakawa, Chris Powell, and Sydney Williams are on display in the Fort Worth Contemporary Gallery.

On August 13th, an exhibition of works fired in the Arkansas tsuchigama will be held at Gallery 76102 in Fort Worth, TX. The exhibition,TSUCHIGAMA/EARTHEN KILN will remain on view through September 30.

Tadashi Hirakawa: Bizen International Exchange Association Director and Tsuchigama Project Committee Director preparing works inside the tsuchigama. Arkansas, 2015.


Fort Worth Contemporary Artsis located at 2900 W. Berry St. on the edge of the TCU Campus, Fort Worth, TX 76109. Gallery Hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 12 – 5 pm,
and by appointment. Admission is free.

For more information about this exhibition, images for press, or details about other activities of the Art Galleries at TCU, please contact Sara-Jayne Parsons, Curator,, 817-257-2707, or Devon Nowlin, Gallery Manager,, 817-257-2588.