Ceramics & Studio Pottery – Toujiki & Atorie Yakimono
Japanese ceramics, (Pottery and Porcelain), were heavily influenced by Chinese and Korean wares, which is evidenced by classic shapes, designs, and glazes dating from as early as the 4th century. It wasn’t long, however, before Japanese ceramics came into their own, with major kiln centers spread throughout the southern island of Kyushu, and the main island of Honshu. The first major center of white porcelain production was in Arita, on the eastern side of Kyushu, when the raw material of porcelain was discovered in the early 1600s. Prior to the 17th century, with the exception of a simple green lead glaze for temples, unglazed stoneware formed the bulk of pottery production in Japan, as it was popular and necessary for their utilitarian needs, which included storage jars, kitchen pots, and other simple forms required for daily use. The establishment of the Arita kilns produced the brightly colored and decorated Imari, and the blue and white Arita ware, which were highly prized by the Dutch East India Company. The decorative Imari porcelains, in particular, were directly influenced by the Chinese five-color-enamel wares. Arising from the Arita kilns was another brightly enameled porcelain called Kakiemon, which utilized much more white, undecorated areas on the bodies of the pieces, and were primarily exported to Europe. The fine quality of the enamel decoration of Kakeimon porcelains were very popular, and hugely influenced the new porcelain factories of 18th century France, England, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Satsuma ware also became very popular with Westerners, and is still very popular today. By the late 18th century, the white porcelain clay was discovered in many other areas of Japan, and this allowed the potters to move more freely among the newly established kilns.
Of all the major kilns of Japan, which include Bizen-yaki, Hagi-yaki, Kutani-yaki, Mino-yaki, Seto-yaki, and Shigaraki-yaki, and the lesser known Karatsu, Agano, and Tokoname kilns, it is the kilns of Seto that have produced some of the most enduring ceramics, especially in the areas of the tea ceremony. Yellow and black glazed Seto, Shino, and Oribe wares are quite popular with collectors.
Oribe ware is the most identifiable for its use of a green copper glaze and bold painted surface designs, which may be based on nature, geometric patterns, or a combination of the two. It takes its name from Furuta Oribe, a tea master in 1544-1615. The clay body typically has a high-iron content and is formed by hand on a potter’s wheel or by drape molding. Like many types of Japanese pottery, tea bowls, dishes and lidded jars for storing food were typically seen.
In addition to our Ceramics and Studio Pottery section, we have an exceptional collection of Shekwan Figures (also known as Mud Figures). Chinese glazing techniques used in the production of Shekwan/Shiwan wares directly influenced Japanese Shiga and Sumida wares in the latter half of the 1800s. The most noticeable influence on Japanese potters shows in the facial and flesh areas of human and animal figures, which are unglazed. This is in vivid contrast to the beautifully glazed, draped cloth over the figure. This also enabled the Japanese potter to add dimensions of expressive detail that would otherwise be covered with glaze. Many historians say Shekwan ware eventually evolved into what is known as Japanese Sumida ware (1870-1880), which is a style all its own.
mingeiarts handles all forms of antique and contemporary ceramics and studio pottery and represents work from numerous well known craftsmen.