Takamori first made his name with his innovative "envelope" vessel forms inspired by Ukiyo-e prints and the way that reclining couples created shallow vessel-like spaces. This piece is a significant example of Takamori's play with outside cultures. This piece, based on Michelangelo's "Pieta" showing Christ in the arms of Mary, is among the most important works by this artist crossing boundaries of culture, religion and time.
Reference: Held, Peter, ed. Between Clouds of Memory: Akio Takamori, a mid-career survey. Tempe: Arizona State University Art Museum, Ceramics Research Center, 2005.