Takuo Katō: Remembering this Japanese master ceramist

Takuo Katō: Master of Ceramics and Guardian of the Persian Luster

In the heart of Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, stood Takuo Katō (1917-2005), a pottery visionary who devoted nearly two decades to reviving the ancient technique of Persian lusterware, an art that had disappeared three centuries earlier. A living national treasure, recognized in 1995, Takuo was not only an outstanding potter, but also the sixth heir to the family workshop, a lineage of Japanese pottery masters dating back to the late Edo period.

His journey began with a deep infatuation with Persian ceramics, which led him to undertake numerous expeditions to Iran. There, immersed in research and exploration, he collected samples, met with experts and studied ruins of ancient kilns, all in an attempt to decipher the secrets of this lost art. His son, Kōbei, later joined this noble quest, assisting in experimentation and testing from Japan.

After years of hard work, fate finally smiled on Takuo. He discovered detailed research by Arthur Upham Pope, a leading Persian ceramics scholar, that shed light on the methods of creating luster. This knowledge was crucial for Takuo, who was able to recreate incredible pieces.

Although Takuo’s attempts to bring this tradition back to Iran were thwarted by the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, his legacy continues through his son Kōbei, who continues to collaborate with Iran to fulfill his father’s dream.

Takuo Katō’s life and work are a testament to tenacity, passion for art, and deep respect for cultural traditions. His passing in 2005, at the age of 87, left a void in the world of ceramics, but also a rich legacy of knowledge and techniques that continue to inspire future generations.

Scroll to Top