I specialized in Japanese fine china.

Imari-Arita伊万里焼, 有田焼


The porcelain produced in Imari-Arita under the patronage of Nabeshima clan, Imari-Arita developed into the largest center for porcelain in Japan until it was overtaken by Seto in the mid-19 century. An important development in the history of Japanese porcelain was the adoption of polychrome overglaze painting from China, which Sakaida Kakiemon First mastered between 1643. This technique involved the painting of polychrome enamels on the high-fired glazed pot, which was fired again at a lower temperature. This technique of overglaze painting, generally referred to as iro-e(colored painting), was referred to in Arita as aka-e (red painting), which is the origin of the widespread Western designation for this technique. Because of its similarity to the sumptuous textiles of the period, the term was also in use. Three separate styles of aka-e can be distinguished: ko-imari, Kakiemon, and iro-Nabeshima.

Representative 3typs

1)Ko-imari ware was decorated in either three colors (sansai) or five colors (gosai)-red, blue, green, yellow, and purple. Around 1660, the method of applying gold and silver was developed, from which Imari kinran (brocade ware with gold design) evolved. The outlines of aka-e designs were frequently drawn in cobalt underglaze (some-nishiki).
2)Kakiemon ware was elegant brushwork in predominant iron red (persimmon) on a milky white background was characteristic, with possible additions of a light blue, various greens, and yellows, brown, and grayish purple. The designs, including flowers and birds, and clouds and dragons, were arranged asymmetrically around areas that were left white. Kakiemon ware was a model for the European Meissen porcelain of the early 18th century.
3)Iro-Nabeshima ware was produced in feudal kilns for the exclusive use of the Nabeshima clan and as presentation ware, under the strictest of security measures and the highest quality standards. It is historically significant that the first hnyo in Japan. The feature was smooth body and its slightly greenish, pore-free glaze.

Reasons of popularity

Today, Imari-Arita is very famous all over the world. There were two reasons for the huge success of Imari- Arita porcelain in the second half of the 17 century: one was the growing demand of the newly affluent urban populace for porcelain eating and drinking utensils. The other - the decisive reason was the demand for exports to South-east Asia and Europe. In China, the production of porcelain came to an almost complete standstill for almost 40 years beginning in 1644, because of the turmoil verging on civil war during the transition from China. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) which had exported large quantities of Chinese porcelain, filled this gap with Japanese ware. After two relatively small shipments in 1650, VOC decided to order Imari porcelain for export to South Asia and Europe.
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Kanetsugu Ishizawa

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History of Imari - Arita