Kutani Porcelain Factory – Honshu, Japan

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Kutani Dish 1800 - 1850 (V & A)
Kutani Dish 1800 – 1850 (V & A)

The Maeda family were hereditary feudal lords who founded and exclusively operated the Kutani Porcelain Factory, a privately owned Japanese factory in Kutani Mura, West Honshu, in the late cI7. In a vibrant colour scheme of yellow, green, dark purple, and blue enamels, products were painted with bold designs of plants, animals, landscapes, or fabrics. On a blue-green background, some pieces had decorations in yellow and purple. Aside from underglaze blue, red enamel was also occasionally used. 

Both Chinese porcelain and the goods produced by the Arita Porcelain Factory, which later copied Kutani wares, can be seen in the designs. Only the 1670s and 1680s appear to have seen activity at the original factory. However, lidaya-Hachiroemon, who ran a factory for a short time, produced copies of the earlier wares as well as items with decorations in gold on a ground of solidly applied red enamel.

The 1850s – Japanese Pottery Reached the World

After more than two centuries of isolation from the outside world, Japan began to open up in the mid-1850s, which led to a huge increase in the production of export goods and a thriving market for antique artwork. These were fiercely sought after by western artists, designers, and collectors, and they were crucial to the rise of “Japonisme” and later art nouveau. French designer Joseph-Thรฉodore Deck (1823-1891) displayed ceramics directly based on Kutani wares at the 1878 Paris International Exhibition.

Sources

Albert Museum, V. A. (n.d.). Dish | V&A Explore The Collections. Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections. https:///item/O77543/

The Penguin dictionary of decorative artsโ€ฏ: Fleming, John, 1919-2001โ€ฏ: Free Download, Borrow, and Streamingโ€ฏ: Internet Archive. (n.d.). Internet Archive. https://archive.org/details/penguindictionar0000flem_i4i2

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