Japan’s ceramic culture is considered to be one of the longest running in the world. Imari ware was produced initially during the late Ming and Japanese Edo period. At the end of the Ming dynasty the demand for Japanese ceramics was strong and it ignited creativity in ceramic production. It was during this period that it is said the Japanese ‘porcelain’ industry really began.
Imari ware was historically made in the town of Arita in Japan, during the latter half of the 17th Century and the earlier half of the 18th Century, during this period Imari ware was exported to Europe in vast quantities; the port from which they were exported was called ‘Imari’ hence where the name derived from; it is situated on the northern coast of Kyushu in Japan.
The kilns in Arita were made in the 17th Century as a result of Yi Sam-pyeong; the Korean potter was thought to be responsible for the discovery of kaolin. The ceramics were made in Arita due to its close proximity to Izumiyama, which was kaolin-rich; Arita soon became the centre for porcelain.
Imari ware was desired by aristocrats and the monarchy in the west and it adorned many grand homes, by the turn of the 18th Century China had began making vast amounts of replica Imari ware. Imari porcelain was at its height of popularity in the 19th Century and is still considered highly attractive today.
A Climbing kiln in Imari city. Adobe Stock ©hasehase2, FILE #: 86839571