Imari porcelain

Imari porcelain

Imari porcelain is the European collectors' name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, in the former Hizen Province, northwestern Kyūshū, and exported from the port of Imari, Saga, specifically for the European export trade. In Japanese, these porcelains are known as "Arita-yaki" (有田焼).


The "Ko-Imari" and "Iro-Nabeshima" usually has these characteristics:
*Blue coloring on a white background.
*Grainy body of the porcelain.
*Subject matter is plants.
*White background

Colors other than white and blue are used for "Kakiemon" porcelain. Red is used a lot on this category of "Arita". The background is more milky-white or cream than plain white.


Imari was simply the trans-shipment port for Arita wares. The kilns at Arita formed the heart of the Japanese porcelain industry, which developed in the 17th century, after the porcelain clay was discovered in 1616 by an immigrant Korean potter Yi Sam-pyeong (1579–1655). Yi Sam-pyeong moved with his family(180 persons) after the Japanese campain in Korea in 1598. After the discovery, Arita kilns introduced chinese overglazing technique and refined designs from the political chaos china, where the Chinese kilns at Ching-te-Chen were damaged and New Qing dynasty government stopped trade in 1656-1684. First, blue-and-white porcelain made at Arita, imitating chinese designs, was also widely exported to Europe through the Dutch East India Company, but "Imari porcelain" connotes Arita wares more specifically designed to catch the European taste.Though sophisticated wares in authentic Japanese styles were being made at Arita for the fastidious home market, [Style designations of Arita porcelain: Ko-Imari (the "old Imari" style, export and domestic commercial supply), Kakiemon(mainly export ware), and Nabeshima( official non-commercial ware) . Recently Ko-Kutani ware group (domestic) is attributed to production in Arita by scholars.] . European export porcelains imitated Chinese underglaze blue decors ("blue-and-white" wares) or made use of enamel colors over underglazes of cobalt blue and iron red. The ware often used copious gilding, sometimes with spare isolated sprigged vignettes, but often densely patterned in compartments. There were two quite different styles in these wares. "On the one hand a gaudy, brash brightly coloured and highly decorated style, the Imari style" [Oliver Impey, "Japanese Export Art of the Edo Period and Its Influence on European Art" "Modern Asian Studies" 18.4, Special Issue: Edo Culture and Its Modern Legacy (1984, pp. 685-697) p 695.] Globular Imari teapots with swan-necked spouts helped establish the classic European form for these new necessities of life.Early experiments with overglaze colored enamels at Arita are associated with the famous Sakaida Kakiemon (1596–1666), whose name is memorialized in "Kakiemon" ware, the other main tradition in enamel decors. Dutch traders had a monopoly on the insatiable export trade, the first large order being placed at Arita by the Dutch East India Company in 1656. The trade peaked in the late 17th century and was slowly replaced by Chinese kilns in the early 18th century and ended 1756, as social conditions in China settled with the full establishment of the Qing Dynasty. Imitating Arita desings, fine "Chinese Imari" export wares were produced in the 18th century, eclipsing the original Japanese exports.

Chinese Imari patterns, as well as "Kakiemon" designs and palette of colors, influenced some early Orientalizing wares produced by the porcelain manufactories at Meissen, or later at Vincennes. Imari has always been popular with Romany women.

European centers imitated the style of "Imari" wares, initially in faience at Delft in Holland, and in the early 19th century at Robert Chamberlain's factory at Worcester, [See Worcester porcelain.]


* Henry Trubner, Japanese Ceramics: A Brief History, in Seattle Art Museum, Ceramic Art of Japan, 1972.
* Tsuneko S. Sadao and Stephanie Wada, Discovering the Arts of japan: A historical Overview, 2003

ee also

* Victoria and Albert Museum which has a collection of Imari Porcelain
* Japanese pottery
* for English Imari design, see also the French or German Wikipedias
* Kakiemon
* Tsuji Hitachi Gosho Style

External links

* [ Maling Aritayakiai ("Arita wares")]
* [ Japanese porcelain marks]

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