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Japanese porcelain

Between 17th and 18th centuries, Japan became famous for its porcelains to the point that European manufactures (Delft, Meissen, St. Cloud, Vincennes, Sèvres ...) will not cease to be inspired by the objects of Japanese art.

As early as 1650, Arita craftsmen developed their own style of "blue and white" porcelain, in imitation of the Chinese porcelain of the Ming dynasty.
Between 1650 and 1660, the Arita kilns create porcelain with polychrome enamels decor on glaze. Towards 1640, Sakaida Kizaemon tried to imitate the Chinese "five colors" (wucai) decoration: he invented an enamel decor on glaze and developed an orange-red color of kaki which earned him his artist's name: Kakiemon. Partly for export, Kakiemon porcelain was very popular in Europe. His decor of characters, animals, and flowers inhabiting rocks with asymmetrical compositions was in vogue in the West.

Japanese porcelain is characterized by decorations of great sobriety, a very smooth clay becoming very hard after firing, and flawless glazes. From 1672, the Arita kilns adopted the decorative techniques painted in enamels underglaze. The pieces arrive in Europe under the name of Imari, the name of the port from which they were transported to the internal and external market. We can distinguish three types of Imari: the "three colors" called sansai, the "five colors" called gosai and the “brocade porcelain” called nishiki-de. Arita became, thanks to the new clay of China, an important porcelain making centre. The Japanese blue and white porcelains of the Arita kilns were a major source of ceramic supplies at a time when China was no longer producing porcelain because of internal troubles. The production of blue and white and porcelain with polychrome decoration grew considerably, stimulated by the demand from abroad and in particular from Europe.
Some porcelains were made for the nobles, in their own kilns, for their own use. These porcelains were of high technical and artistic quality.
The porcelain of Nabeshima, which appears in the first decades of the 18th century is typical of the porcelains of the daimyos. The porcelain known as "old Kutani", Ko-Kutani, has a rich palette: blue, green, yellow, red, violet ... Kutani green porcelain is a variety of Ko-Kutani characteristic of the 19th century.
The Hirado porcelain, a local production of Kyushu, was originally produced for the exclusive use of the daimyos of the Matsura clan, its commercial distribution being later. The first Hirado were known for their great quality and great fineness of execution. The golden age of Hirado porcelain extends from 1751 to 1843. In the 1840’s, the kilns were under contract with the Dutch East India Company. Hirado porcelain was exhibited in Europe during major international exhibitions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in particular at the Universal Exhibitions.
The so-called Satsuma faience, is a production of the Kyoto workshops from 1780 to 1868 that incarnate the works of ceramist artists such as: Makuzu, Meizan, Kozan, Shozan, Kaizan, Shizan, Bizan Taizan Eizan, Kinkozan, Sozan, Itozan. This porcelain is covered with a finely cracked cream colored glaze, enameled with imperial enamels, opaque and thick and finely gilded.