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Japanese Pottery - Kutani History

Saturday, April 3, 2010 By InfoGatherer

Kutani pottery takes it name from the Japanese region in which it is made. Kutani pottery has long been cherished for its elaborate designs and lush colors.

The earliest forms of Kutani pottery were tea wares and vessels for food storage after the Maeda family established the first kiln in the area in the 17th century. The pottery quickly became valued for the vibrant glazes applied to it. Over time, the region supported a whole class of pottery makers.

A defining characteristic of Kutani items is the minute inscriptions of characters or poems meant to impart good fortune upon those who use them. The imagery and script are said to have been adapted from Chinese imagery.

Large plates were popular items as they could be shown off at parties. The designs on these wares often incorporated popular motifs from the time of their creation, such as kimono designs and geometric patterns such as lozenge or tortoise shell designs. Authentic Kutani pottery is absolutely unique. It is handcrafted, insuring that no two pieces are alike or have the identical design.

Adapted from The Museum of Oriental Ceramics of Osaka, The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts, and The Encyclopedia Britannica