Imari (Arita) Porcelain
Japan is a country that produces a lot of different ceramic types, most of them highly popular overseas. One these types if Arita ware, that has been favored over 400 years ago not only in Japan, but also in Europe. Later on, we will learn a little more about Arita ware and meet an aspiring, young ceramist.
In 1616, rumor has it, Ri Sanpei (a Korean ceramics who traveled to Japan from Korea) discovered a porcelain stone deposit at Izumiyama,in Atira. From there, he started working and made the first porcelain piece in Japan, with the use of the material he had discovered. With the porcelain stone, the production of ceramics quickly grew in Arita. With time, the overglazed techniques were so appreciated, that a magistrate's office was set up, in order to prevent them from leaking to outsiders, and in order to check on productions of Arite ware.
Early Arita ware design was mostly white material on blue designs. In the 1640s, the famous akae (a colorful overglaze that uses abundant red) was perfected by Kakiemon I. Beautiful designs in bright colors started to represent Arita ware, and from then on were loved all around the world. Still, in the 1690s the world saw the appearance of products that combined blue underglazed patterns, along with detailed overglaze patterns, with artifacts and gorgeous products, with gold applied over these incredibly fascinating designs. Known as Ko-Imari, this style of Arita ware had a significant influence on the productions of ceramics in a few areas of Europe.
With evolution at its peak, in less than one hundred years, akae and other techniques were perfected and brought up. In the 19th century, the reputation of Arite porcelains exploded in Paris, as they were shown at the Universal Exposition, granting them excellent reputation.
Nowadays, Arita is home to a lot of potteries, and a school that focuses basically in teaching the art of ceramics, in order to aspire future ceramists. Meinssen, Germany, entered a "sister city" contract with Arita in 1979, as both cities are famous for their porcelain (Meissen porcelain is the porcelain that originates from Meinssen). The international exchange through ceramics is a traditions kept alive even today.