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Oriental Porcelain - Notes On Other Wares

( Originally Published 1911 )

At Seto, in Owari province, both porcelain and pottery were made ; the former was an importation from Arita, which has now become so important that porcelain in Japan is known as Seto-mono or Seto ware. Here, too, was made a kind of stoneware much esteemed by the tea clubs.

At Inuyama, also in Owari, imitations of Chinese porcelain were made, and called Agaye. Many kilns are still at work here.

At Karatsu, in Hizen, was an ancient factory, now closed, which had a great reputation for the manufacture of the utensils required by the tea clubs.

At Nagano-mura, a pottery produced ware with a streaky glaze, but not painted. Close by, Iga made a singularly rough ware.

At Sobara-mura, Takatori ware, chiefly vases to hold incense, of a rich brown glazed stoneware, was manufactured. Many makers in various kilns made the bowls for drinking tea, which was the finest green tea, ground to powder, frothed up with a brush, and passed in a bowl from hand to hand. Raku ware, so called from the inscribed mark Raku (happiness), consisted chiefly of tea-bowls.

Nothing need be said of the modern Japanese potters. The greater part of the modern imports is too bad for words, and none need be wasted on it. Yet, amidst much that is thoroughly bad, there are still some master potters in Kyoto, Tokio, Yokohama, Seyfou, and elsewhere, whose work is well worth buying.

It will be well to remember that old Japanese has two classes, one with a white, semi-transparent paste with very simple designs—a plum-tree and two quails, the tortoise with the hairy tail, the phoenix, a few storks, or more rarely a Japanese lady in full dress. The colours used were red, a pale but bright blue, an apple-green, and an unusual lilac often with the butterfly mark. Dresden, Chelsea, St. Cloud, and other works imitated this class.

The second class, also imitated in Europe, as at Derby, for example, had the chrysanthemum and peony decoration ; the ornaments are in compartments or panels, enclosing mythical animals. Specimens before me are decorated with a deep blue and gold. The other colours chiefly used are a deep red and a bright black and green. The kiri or kiku flower, with seventeen blossoms and three leaves, is frequently used. It is the Imperial badge. The covers of the vases and jars have figures in Japanese dress or Korean lions on the top. Most of the beautifully decorated specimens were made for export, the Japanese value the rough, artistic, but characteristic work.


(1) Kutani, or Kaga, often with other marks. This is the Prince's mark.

(2–5) Kutani ware ; red, blue, and gold. (6–7) Kutani porcelain, usually very fine.

(8) " Made at Kutani in Great Japan."

(9) Ohi Ware Kaga.

(10) Ohi ware, Kaga.

(11) " Happiness," Kaga. The open window mark.

(12-13) Kenzan, inscribed marks.

(14) Kenzan, stamped, letters sunk.

(15) Kenzan painted in brown.

(16–18) Yeiraku. The Nagano-mura is an off-shoot in Awaji, same mark.

(19) " Made by Yieraku in Great Japan."

(20-21) Kishu. Both marks stamped in the paste.

(22) Banko. Two stamped marks. On thin tea-pots, greyish brown ware.

(23) Banko. Two stamped marks.

(24) Nishina, a family name.

(25, 26, 27) Soma. Stamped in oblong or oval panel, the oval being the older. On the outside of some pieces with these marks the crest of the Prince of Soma (A) is found with a prancing horse tied between two stakes.

This is a common form of marking Chinese porcelain and Chinese symbolical ornaments, and were often copied. The five examples given (B to F) are frequently found on Japanese porcelain:

(B) A swastika, Buddhist symbol, also a family crest.

(C) A flower with five leaves, in red.

(D and E) Two varieties of a plant.

(F) A leaf, in blue outlined in gold.

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