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A late 19th century Japanese Kutani vase with storyline decoration. No restoration or damage and in very fine condition, Circa 1890 Meijii period.
Kutani ware is a style of Japanese porcelain which was first produced in the mid 1650s in the area of Kanazawa, Komatsu, Kaga, and Nomi in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Goto Saijiro, a member of the Maeda clan, set up a kiln in the village of Kutani (now part of the city of Kaga) on the order of Maeda Toshiharu, ruler of the Kaga domain. The porcelain style is known for multiple colors such as greens, blues, yellows, purples, and reds and bold designs covering most of the surface of each piece.
After discovering the high quality clays necessary to produce porcelain in the area of the village of Kutani in the Daishoji Domain (now mostly part of the city of Kaga in Ishikawa Prefecture), Maeda Toshiharu ordered Goto Saijiro to go to Arita in Saga Prefecture to learn how to make porcelain. Maeda did this to increase his political and personal fortune. Recently, a theory has been put forward that most or all of the Kokutani ware was actually created in Arita rather than just influenced by the ceramics being created there.
A kiln was set up by 1656, and Kutani ware was produced until about 1704-1710, though the reasons for this closure are debated. Theories put forward include that supplies of the pigments necessary for the glazing were difficult to find, or that there were financial difficulties. This period of production is now referred to as the Old Kutani.
The kiln was re established in the 1820s and Kutani ware began being produced again. Additional kilns were established over the years, and many variations on the Old Kutani style appeared.
A memorial to Goto has been erected near an old Kutani ware kiln in the city of Kaga. The style of producing Kutani was named a traditional craft in 1975. There are now several hundred companies which produce Kutani ware.
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