Ceramist: Manji Inoue
Mr. Manji Inoue, a representative artist of Arita porcelain, creates a world of white porcelain that expresses beauty in its pure whiteness without any decoration, and is recognized as an Important Intangible Cultural Property, a Living National Treasure. This is evidenced by his brilliant career, including being a holder of "White Porcelain" and receiving the Medal with Purple Ribbon and the Order of the Rising Sun.
Manji Inoue's work is characterized by its beauty. The pieces, which have a sense of softness and warmth despite their neatness, are made using advanced potter's wheel techniques, and the simple beauty of their shapes has come to be known as the finest white porcelain. Its glossy white skin and dignified appearance give it a unique presence.
History of Arita ware
Arita ware is a type of porcelain that represents Japan and is painted with colorful paints. Its history is old, dating back 400 years. In 1616, Lee Sanpei (Japanese name: Kanegae Sanbei), a potter brought back by Nabeshima Naoshige of the Saga domain during the Bunroku and Keicho eras by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, went to Arita Izumiyama in 1616 to produce high-quality raw materials for porcelain. The discovery of ceramic stone is said to be the beginning of Arita ware.
The characteristics of Arita ware are the use of dyeing (sometsuke), which is painted with an indigo pigment called gosu, and overglaze painting (uewaetsuke), called iroe, on the transparent white porcelain surface. Characterized by bright colors. It is highly durable and has been used to produce a variety of items, from works of art to daily necessities. "Overglaze" refers to the process of applying a pattern to the surface of glazed and fired porcelain.In contrast to "underpainting," in which a design is applied before glazing, "overglaze" is a process in which a pattern is painted on top of the glaze layer. It is said to be a picture. In addition, while the "underpainting" is painted in indigo blue, the "overpainting" is painted in a variety of colors. Arita ware, which has been perfected over a long history, is generally divided into three styles: ``Old Imari Style,'' ``Kakiemon Style,'' and ``Nabeshima Domain Kiln Style.''
"Old Imari style"
This is a style produced in Hizen Arita during the Edo period that uses rich dyeing and rich red and gold paint called kinrande. At that time, these porcelains were shipped from the port of Imari, which is adjacent to Arita, hence the name. Kinrande is a piece of colored porcelain that is gilded with gold paint or gold powder, creating a gorgeous pattern.
It is characterized by overglaze coloring called ``Aka-e'', which is painted in bright colors such as red, blue, green, and yellow on a milky-white base called Nigoshide. It was also called the ``beauty of white space'' because of the generous amount of white space in the composition. Kakiemon-style vessels developed rapidly as colored porcelain for export, and many pieces went to Europe, and many imitations were made in Meissen kilns in Germany.
"Nabeshima clan kiln style"
It is characterized by its bluish background, comb height, and back pattern. The techniques include ``Colored Nabeshima'', which is based on dyeing and three colors of red, blue, and green, ``Ainabeshima'', which is elaborately painted in indigo blue, and ``Nabeshima Celadon'', which is a natural blue-green color. Among them, ``Colored Nabeshima'' with an overglaze picture was used as tableware for the lord of the Saga domain and as gifts to various feudal lords and the shogunate. It can be said that the unique beauty of style was achieved because it was a domain kiln, and Ironabeshima, which brings together the best techniques of the time, boasts beauty that is representative of Arita, along with the Kakiemon style.
The difference between Imari ware and Arita ware is that porcelain made around Arita Town, Saga Prefecture is called Arita ware. During the Edo period, porcelain fired in Arita was exported from the port of Imari (Imari City), next door to Arita, so it spread throughout the country under the name Imari ware (Imari ware = Arita ware). Later, after the Meiji period, porcelain made in Arita came to be called Arita ware, taking the name of the place where it was produced. Furthermore, the term "Old Imari" that is often heard in antiques refers to Arita ware made during the Edo period, and now Imari ware is made in Okawachiyama, Imari City.
Today, the town of Arita is dotted with many potteries, and there is even a vocational school for learning pottery called the Ceramics College, with the aim of nurturing the next generation of potters. In addition, mining in Arita Izumiyama (Izumiyama, Arita Town, Saga Prefecture) has almost disappeared, and Amakusa pottery stone has become the mainstream in Kumamoto Prefecture, where it is easier to use.
*Bunroku/Keichō no Eki
A war that spanned six years from 1592 to 1598, during which Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea (present-day South Korea and North Korea) with the aim of conquering the Ming Dynasty (present-day China). The first battle is called the Bunroku no Eki (1592-1593), and the second battle is called the Keicho Era (1597-1598). The battle ended in 1959 with the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.