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Evaluating Ceramic Art in Japan

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This paper describes and analyses preparations for the holding of ananthropologist potter’s one-man show in a Japanese department store. Based onparticipant observation, it describes in detail the strategic planning of, andpreparations for, the fieldworker’s own pottery exhibition in a department storelocated in northern Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands andhome to a long tradition of porcelain and stoneware production. The paperfocuses on the main players in the ceramic art world; the social interactionunderpinning an exhibition; the conflicting ideals of ‘aesthetics’, display andmoney (pricing); and the ways in which different sets of values, and evaluatingprocesses, affected the reception of the author’s work. It concludes bydeveloping a theory of values in the light of recent writings in the field ofcultural economics.

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Brian Moeran

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