museum village

The middle of the Edo period Arita and Imari ceramic wares

Ko-Imari ware in which bright colors such as red and gold are used reflecting the prosperous and affluent Genroku era.
Ko-Imari literally refers to old Imari ware, especially the Imari ware made in the Edo period.
This type of decorative palette with deep blue underglaze cobalt over which gold, red, green, and yellow enamels are painted, is called the "Ko-Imari style." It is also called "kinrande (gold brocade) Ko-Imari," in which the combination of the colors of cobalt blue, gold, and red is standard.
The "Ko-Imari style was developed in the Genroku era (1688`1704), gradually taking the place of the traditional Kakiemon style. It was appreciated as much as the Kakiemon style in Europe and exported in large quantities during the Genroku and the Kyoho eras (1716`1736). Some examples of the style completely decorated with colorful designs are gorgeous and dazzling, reflecting the prosperous Genroku era. The design is characterized by the way of dividing the ware surface with radial lines and karahana-like curves and decorating with madoe and ground patterns alternately. Among the designs are karahana-mon and shishi-botan-mon (lion and peony).

imageNabeshima ware manufactured under close control using a collection of superlative techniques
The ceramic wares manufactured in the kilns patronized by the Nabeshima domain (goyo-gama) in Saga were called "Nabeshima," its unique style being referred to as the Nabeshima style.
The Nabeshima kilns were established in Iwayakawachi in Arita in 1628 (Kanei 5) and moved to Okawachiyama in Imari City in 1675, and exclusively fired pieces for the domain's use, for gifts to be presented to the shogunate and other feudal lords.
In the official domain kilns only the potters with the highest techniques taken from among those in Arita were engaged in the production of elaborately designed overglaze enamel wares, underglaze cobalt-blue wares, and celadon wares under strict control, and which are named "Nabeshima." Overglaze enameled wares are manufactured by outlining the design in cobalt blue and finishing with red, yellow, and green enamels plus cobalt blue, some excellent examples being called "Iro-Nabeshima." This technique of underglaze depiction in cobalt blue reached perfection, especially in the in-filling (dami) and the ink disappearing technique (sumihajiki). The celadon wares were admired as "Nabeshima celadon," which is a combination of the time-honored underglaze cobalt blue and celadon techniques. Nabeshima ware, like the Ko-Imari style, was at its peak during the Genroku era (1688`1704).


Hizen ceramics exported worldwide because of their good quality
Dutch East India Company

  Since the Tang period, when porcelain began being produced on a consistent basis, China had for many centuries been the main porcelain production area providing the world with porcelain wares. However, in the 17th century the confusion that occurred in the transition from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty and the resulting trade restriction policy of the Qing resulted in a limited supply of Chinese porcelain to world markets. The Dutch East India Company Confederation (VOC), for which Chinese porcelain was an important trading commodity, chose Hizen as a substitute supplier because Hizen porcelain had a quality similar to the Chinese. In this way Hizen porcelain was able to reach world markets. Even the recorded number of Hizen porcelain pieces exported via VOC from the second half of the 17th century to the second half of the 18th was more than 3.7 million. The mark of three initials overlapping was the company seal and was depicted on each of those ceramic pieces.

Sometsukefuyoudehououmonoozara with a VOC seal
In the 1690s`1710s
Owned by the Kyushu Ceramic Museum in Saga