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Arita Ware


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The first ceramics in Japan and mainly prospered in Arita, Saga prefecture

It is also called the Imari-yaki, because there was a prosperous port, Imari located close to Arita district during the Edo Era.

In the early 17th century, Arita was the first place to produce ceramics in Japan. Under the influence of Korea, underglaze blue Sometsuke porcelain became the mainstream at that time.

In 1640s, the Chinese advanced techniques of pottery were introduced to Japan under the patronage of the Saga Nabeshima clan. Since then, the decorative production of porcelain was started with full of season sensation, getting out of the influence from China and Korea.

In 1653, Arita ceramics were exported to European countries by Dutch East India Company. They were especially popular with European nobles who used Somenishiki's dishes, the large jars, and the bowls. Arita Ware has started to undergo some changes to adjust to the European lifestyle. They were acknowledged as Imari Ware which symbolized the distinctive feature of Japanese culture in the Edo period in the same way as Ukiyoe.

Also, Arita ceramics made a significant influence on Japanese lifestyle. The polished white dishes and beautifully painted vessels replaced wooden and earth vessels. It has changed to the rich life which matches with the four seasons.

Today, Arita ceramics are valued as art at the same time they are used as daily crockery. The styles of Arita ceramics include Somenishiki's dishes, celadon, white porcelains, tenmoku, overglaze enamel, Iro-Nabeshima, Kakiemon, and Ko-Kutani. Some ceramic artists have been making a great effort to research traditional techniques and develop their own styles. An outstanding artist, SHOMURA, Ken paints blue tint, red tint on white porcelain, NAKAO, Hidezumi engraves inlay decoration with his original style on white porcelain. Another artist, FUJII, Shoun has succeeded in the traditional luxurious and gorgeous technique in Somenishiki.


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