Kutani ware dates to the Edo period (circa 1655). Kutani means Nine Valleys in the Kaga province. The production of these fine decorative ceramics was enhanced when magnetite was discovered in a gold mine in the Kutani village region (near the city of Kaga, Japan). Kutani had high quality clay and the area became a good source for pottery production. The name of this pottery comes from a town called Kutani, located in the Ishikawa prefecture in northern Japan.
History of Japanese porcelains
The production of such wares dates back to the end of 16th century when Korean potters were brought over from Korea to make tea sets for the famed ceremonial tea ceremonies. A kiln was built and sustained in Kutani from circa 1655 to 1730 and the pottery produced during that time was called Kokutani. In 1730, the production facility was closed. The Kutani kiln was reestablished in the 1820s and Kutani ware was once again produced and distributed. During the Meiji era (circa 1868), significant amounts of Kutani ware was exported to foreign countries.
Kokutani wares of hand painted Japanese porcelain are highly desirable and sought after. They became popular for their highly detailed and complicated painted decoration as well as their gold appearance. Five main colors are used in the production of Kutani wares: green, yellow, red, purple and deep blue. Styles vary such as the Mokubei style which shows a Chinese influence, Yoshidaya is best known for its vibrant blue color, Iidaya highlights detailed imagery in red, Eiraku features gold pictures, and Shoza style is characterized by its gold coloring on a base of red imagery.
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