Arita Porcelain is the name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita (Southern part of Japan). Arita's kilns were set up in the 17th century, when porcelain stones was discovered in the Arita region by Sanpei Lee who is the immigrant Korean potter.
Arita porcelain was exported to European countries and became known as “IMARI” in the 17th century. The pieces were enjoyed throughout much of European countries. Arita porcelain had a great influence on the beginning of Meissen porcelain in Germany. Arita porcelain pieces of that era are stored in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the Louvre Museum. Now Arita porcelain celebrates its 400 year anniversary.
Kutani ware is a style of Japanese porcelain first established by Goto Saijiro after the mid-seventeenth century. Production of Kutani ware ceased at the end of the 17th century, but commenced again in the 19th century. The porcelain style is known for five colors: red, yellow, green, purple and navy, which are used to paint over dynamic line drawings.
It all began during Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea in 1592. Hideyoshi ordered a Hagi lord, Mori Terumoto, to bring back two famous Korean potters, the brothers Yi Sukkwang and Yi Kyung, and make them establish kilns in Hagi. This is why Hagi Ware pottery was also called Kourai, or Korean, pottery. Hagi Ware pottery, which has been made for over four centuries, blossomed and has been famous from that time on.
The charm of Hagi Ware pottery lies in the rough texture of the clay and the pockmarked surfaces laced with cracks in the glaze. Hagi Ware pottery is liquid-permeable. This results in another interesting characteristic, that is, that its color and tone change with use, especially if used to drink tea. Hagi Ware pottery also effectually expresses certain “simplicity” due to the original standards of its style, the tint of the clay, and the glazing technique. Thus, Hagi Ware pottery has been widely appreciated by experts of the tea ceremony.
The origin of Mino Ware quality porcelain is believed to be from the Tono Region of Gifu Prefecture in Japan about seven centuries ago. Known for its abundance of clay, the region continues today to produce the vast majority of Japanese tableware. Because of the prolific amount of Japanese tea parties the firing and finishing of porcelain sets reached a peak at the turn of the century before falling victim to wars, recessions and mass manufacturing and copying of original designs.
It is of no surprise that Mino Ware was finally designated a traditional Japanese craft in 1978, approximately 1000 years after its humble beginnings in the kilns built into mountainsides of Tono.