Modern Kutani ware with a lighthearted picture of a lucky rabbit
Rabbits have long been considered auspicious animals. The jumping of rabbits brings the word "leap" to mind. With its nuance of growth and progress, "leap" is considered a lucky word. In China, the rabbit is a god of longevity. In Europe, rabbits are a symbol of crisis avoidance. These animals are loved around the world. For example, based on the legend of the Hare of Inaba, rabbits are believed to bring harmony to the relationships of married couples. This piece offers a modern take on Kutani ware while still stressing its traditional aspects. With its paw waving at the viewer, the rabbit's posture is humorous and modern, but this is depicted using traditional patterns like the "shippou" seven-treasure pattern and the "seigaiha" wave pattern.
■ Size: H33cm×W33cm×D2.5cm
■ Country of production: Japan
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Artist: Kazuyoshi Kitamura
Born in 1974. He is a second generation potter of the Tikuryu Kiln in Kutani, Ishikawa.
He has created many innovative works using traditional techniques as a base, including sneakers, insects and accessories. Through collaborations with toymakers, apparel makers and others, he has branched out into new areas. In these projects, he conveys new forms of the original charms of Kutani ware, such as its strong sense of identity and the techniques and technology used for overglazing. While his collaborations with companies have been a focus of attention, he has attracted notice both at home and abroad as an artist pursuing his own original style. This style inherits the traditional overglazing techniques of Kutani ware, but incorporates techniques like "kokusai" (black coloring). In this technique, the base is first painted black before the color is applied.
Characteristics of Kutani ware
Kutani ware refers to colored porcelain produced in the Kaga region of southern Ishikawa. Its distinctive characteristic is the use of overglazing to create pictures with many colors. This overglazing is known for its profound and beautiful brilliance of color, achieved through the application of five vivid hues (red, yellow, green, purple and deep blue) on dynamic and fluid lines.
Each Kutani ware kiln has its own style. In addition to styles that use overglazing and the five basic colors, there are also traditional blue, red and gold brocade styles, among others. These styles were created by artists invited from Edo and Kyoto, each incorporating the trends of their era. It is said that Kutani and ceramics painting are inseparable. As that suggests, even beyond the various techniques and painting styles mentioned above, practitioners of Kutani ware have continued to devote themselves to the question of how to paint pottery.
History of Kutani
It is thought that in approximately 1655 (the first year of the Meireki era), a pottery stone was discovered in a gold mine in Kutani, which led to the introduction of pottery technology from Arita and the construction of kilns. In the present day, that area is Kutani-machi in Yamanaka Onsen, Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture.
Old Kutani and revived Kutani
Kutani kilns are divided into two eras. The old Kutani (ko-Kutani) period lasted until the early 1700s. With its powerful and unique beauty of style, pottery from this era is highly regarded and considered a representative of painted Japanese porcelain. The revived Kutani (saiko-Kutani) period began in the 1800s with the creation of a variety of different painting styles.
In the wake of the 1873 Vienna World's Fair, Kutani Shoza's colored "kinrande" (gold brocade) porcelain gained fame, and many pieces of Kutani ware were exported from Japan. The style became known as "Japan Kutani" around the world. Today, Kutani ware is being produced more actively than ever before. Contemporary pieces integrate overglazing styles from the kilns of each era.
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