There are so many memories one can bring back home after visiting Japan. Japan is a unique and beautiful country that offers an unmatched cultural experience. A must-visit place in the capital of Japan is Asakusa. This metropolitan city can offer you endless skyscrapers, the amazing Sky-Tree, and the iconic Tokyo Tower, but strolling down to the Asakusa area and discovering the Sensō-ji temple is also an unforgettable historical experience. One of the activities you might enjoy most in Asakusa, is visiting the ceramics and pottery shops and admire the authentic Japanese porcelains and wares with their bright and captivating colours that tell the history of artisans and handcraft in the country. This might invite you to reflect on the art of Japanese ceramics and what makes them distinctive.
Every prefecture in Japan has its own unique ware or "Yaki" style. For example, Fukuoka has Agano-Yaki and Kyoto is known for Kyoto-Kiyomizu-Yaki. But in this blog, let me tell you about one special style of pottery and ceramics art that comes from Ishikawa and is known as Kutani-Yaki. Kutani-Yaki has gotten popular around the world thanks to the beautiful colours and bold aesthetics of the wares. Be it plates, tea sets, vases or bowls, you will find the perfect ware for you to make your experience with foods, drinks and home décor even more precious and meaningful.
Kutani-yaki was first produced during the early years of Edo period (17th century), in Ishikawa's southern cities, such as Komatsu city, Kanazawa city and Kaga city. The very first Kutani style, which is called Ko-Kutani or old Kutani was popular during the 17th century, but its production was suspended right after.
The cause for the suspension is up for debate, it might be related to smuggling incidents, the rarity of raw materials, or even financial difficulties.
Around a 100 years later, the production was re-established, bringing back the art of Kutani and giving birth to new styles such as the Mokubei style, the Yoshidaya style and the Iidaya style.
One core feature of the Kutani-Yaki is the vivid and bold colours used in painting the marvellous sceneries, designs and landscapes on the porcelain. The five colours used are green, red, purple, blue and yellow, and they are known as the gosai-de (五彩手). The stories say that daring choice of colours come from Ishikawa’s grey and cold winter that encouraged the artist to create the contrast with vibrant pigments and produce beautiful aesthetics we are bond to fall in love with. The overglazing method used by artisans to paint the designs make the ware very valuable, the colours are applied after baking the porcelain and then it’s baked once again to protect the magnificent coloured piece of art.
Handmade craft from Kutani Iwataya
And today, this art is still very much alive and loved by many. The creators of Kutani-Yaki in Ishikawa prefecture are still making beautiful handmade ware for fans like you, where every stroke of the brush is made which great precision and utmost care, and every pigment tells the story of an art that survived throughout the years.
Milk Jug from Kutani Iwataya available at Oji Shop.
That's why Oji shop worked hard to bring the precious and valuable pieces of art made by Kutani-Iwataya’s artisans to South Africa, especially for you, to give you the chance to enjoy an experience only Kutani Yaki can offer you.