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My Division


Amache Archaeology Collection

Connecting the Pieces: Dialogues on the Amache Archaeology Collection Online Exhibit 

Bowl Sherds

Porcelain, 6.4" wide. Found near Block 9L.


These sherds of porcelain were once part of a large, ornate bowl belonging to a family at Amache. The thickness of the sherds suggests this piece would have been large and heavy, making it difficult to transport safely. It must have had great emotional value for a family to bring it to Amache.

The central motif of pine, bamboo, and plum trees (shochikubai—松竹梅) makes this serving dish especially appropriate to use for an auspicious occasion. The sherds were found in a dump site near the exit of the barracks, suggesting the piece was likely kept safe until the end of the family's time at Amache.

- Trevor Gilbert-Mayes, DU Student Curator

The Three Friends of Winter (shochik ibai - 松竹梅)

From Left to Right: Ume (plum) represents pure spirit. Matsu (pine) represents longevity. Take (bamboo) represents flexibility.

personal reflection

The pieces of this bowl bring me only questions.
Mom, was this your bowl?
Since you were limited to how much you could take, why did you choose this over so many other possessions?
Did your mother or grandmother pass it down to you?
Was it one of your prized possessions or your only prized possession?
Was it something that you had hoped to pass on to your children?
Was it something that you thought would help preserve your Japanese heritage?
Did Dad tell you that you were being foolish to take such a thing?
How did you get it from your house to the race track and then to the train that took you to a place that you knew nothing about?
Did you wrap it in a furoshiki?
Were you able to use it while at Amache?
Did you ever have a chance to serve traditional Japanese foods in it?
Did you ever have a chance to share food in it with friends while in "camp?"
Were you heartbroken when it broke?
I didn't know to ask these questions while you were alive. And you didn't share with me those stories. Broken and I have no answers. However, I am proud that you and Dad picked up the pieces of your life and started over again.

- Ann Naome Yoshihara-Murphy, Community Curators, Sansei (third generation Japanese American). Grandfather, parents and siblings incarcerated at Amache


Furoshiki by Ann Yoshihara-Murphy.

Photo by DU.

Internees brought valuable items to camp in a furoshiki, traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used to transport clothes, gifts, food or other items. In Japan, before the modern age, a furoshiki was used to wrap your clothes in when going to a public bath or furo. Isn't this a lovely way to take food to a pot luck? More eco-friendly than a plastic bag.

Left: Trevor Gilbert-Mayes, DU Student Curator. Right: Ann Yoshihara-Murphy, Community Curator.