Arita porcelain (Aritayaki)
Porcelain manufactured in Arita Town, Saga Prefecture and the surrounding area.
It has been widely used since the Meiji era.
In the Edo period, it was called Imari ware or Hizen ware.
As Japan’s first porcelain-baked production area, we have been manufacturing mainly tableware and arts and crafts for the next 400 years.
History of Arita porcelain
At the beginning of the 17th century, the discovery of porcelain stones in Izumiyama, Arita by the first Korean potter, Sanbei Kanegae (commonly known as Yi Sam-pyeong), began manufacturing porcelain in Arita.
At that time, the shipment was made from Imari, so it was also called “Imari-yaki”.
In the early days of Arita porcelain, the ones made between the 1610s and 1650 are called “early Imari”.
The base material is thick, and it has a simple impression with only dyeing (something).
Color painting (overpainting) began in Arita in the 1640s.
It is said that the first Sakaida Kakiemon was successful.
The technique of coloring the glaze with paints for ceramics has changed from the monochromatic world of dyeing only to various colors, which was epoch-making at that time.
Early color paintings from the 1640s to the 1660s are called “Shokiiroe style”.
There are “Gosaide” that uses red, green, yellow, blue, and purple, and “Aode” that fills the surface with green, yellow, purple, and blue.
From the 1650s, Arita porcelain began to be exported to Southeast Asian and European countries by the Dutch East India Company (abbreviated as VOC).
Since Europe at that time did not have the technology to make porcelain like China and Arita, having porcelain became a status symbol among the royal aristocrats of Europe.
Arita porcelain, which can be seen in the collection of royal aristocrats, is also called “IMARI” in Europe and is still highly regarded.
From the 1670s to the 1690s, the “Kakiemon style” became popular.
It is characterized by painting on a milky white base called Nigoshide with a pictorial composition that leaves a margin.
Many Kakiemon-style works were exported to Europe and not only decorated the palace, but also imitated in the Meissen kiln in Germany and the Chantilly kiln in France.
In the latter half of the 17th century, the Nabeshima clan kiln, which had been in Arita until then, moved to Okawachiyama in Imari City.
Here, a gift called “Nabeshima” was burned under the strict control of the clan. The “Nabeshima style” is characterized by its elegant style, with regular vessel shapes, color paintings of designs, dyeing, and celadon.
Arita porcelain in the Meiji era gained fame at the World’s Fair, which was actively held mainly in Europe.
The Saga Domain participated in the 1867 (Keio 3) World’s Fair in Paris with the Satsuma Domain at the request of the Shogunate. Since then, the Japonisme epidemic has spread from Paris to various parts of Europe, and the exhibited works have been very well received, and the government and others have been busy responding. Therefore, the standing trading company, the first trading company in Japan, which has a general trading company function, was born.
After that, Vienna in 1873 (Meiji 6), Philadelphia in 1876 (Meiji 9), etc. were exhibited one after another at the Expo, and Koransha, the precision company, Fukagawa Seiji, etc. won the gold medal and gold medal. .. It goes without saying that the active participation in the Expo of this era influenced the evaluation of Arita porcelain overseas.
Arita porcelain after the Taisho era
During the Taisho era, demand for industrial products and insulators increased, and production in this field increased. In addition, the “Ceramics Market”, which officially started in 1916 (Taisho 5) as a sponsorship event of the Ceramics Fair, which has been held since 1896, has developed as Arita Pottery Market and continues to this day.
In the Showa era, porcelain production shrank and unemployed, due to the impact of the recession that struck all over Japan and the price pressure of the large-scale production of porcelain in the Seto and Mino areas. Among these technicians who have lost their workplaces, some will take this opportunity to become independent. The emergence of so-called ceramic artists.
By the end of 1930 (Showa 5), the number of people exceeded 30, according to Matsuura Tokiho.
During the war, the controlled economy progressed and the kilns were forced to switch to munitions factories. There are controls on the distribution price of ceramics, and Arita also manufactures ceramics, hand-held ammunition, rocket parts, and so on. Under such circumstances, fearing that advanced manufacturing technology will be lost, kilns and writers who have been designated as “art preservation (commonly known as Marguei)” and “technology preservation (commonly known as Marugi)” are controlling general products. Separately, it will be distributed. “Marguei” is a work of art, and “Margi” is an elaborate piece made with the traditional technique between art and daily necessities. In Arita, “Marugay” was designated by Matsumoto Yuzan, and “Marugi” was designated by Kakiemon Kiln, Imaemon Kiln, Koransha, Fukagawa Seiji, Kawanami Kisaku, and Mitsumatsu Soichi.
After the war, both production and sales will make great strides in the 1950s and 1940s.
In 1976 (Showa 51), the Kakiemon Ceramics Technology Preservation Society and the Color Nabeshima Imaemon Technology Preservation Society were certified as national important intangible cultural property holding organizations, and in 1980 (Showa 55), the Tenguya kiln site , Yamabeda kiln trace, Hara Akira kiln trace, Izumiyama magnet field trace are designated as national historic sites. In 1991 (Heisei 3), the townscape of the Kami-Arita district was selected as an important traditional buildings preservation district of the country, and the culture surrounding Arita porcelain has been recognized nationwide.
Today, Arita porcelain is still mainly producing tableware and arts and crafts, but it also manufactures industrial products such as tiles, insulators, and acid-resistant porcelain.
The production of Arita porcelain is basically a division of labor.
The manufacturing method has gradually changed due to advances in technology and tools,
Specialists in each field such as molding → glazing → painting → firing are in charge of each process while inheriting traditional techniques.