ARITA-YAKI also called as IMARI-YAKI* (伊万里焼) is the name for Japanese porcelain ware
made in the town of Arita, in the former Hizen province (Saga Prefecture, north-western Kyushu in Japan). Saga prefecture is known as the first place to produce Tojiki (Japanese traditional pottery) in Japan.
* At that time, Arita porcelain was called Imari ware because it was shipped from the port of Imari.
The beautiful Arita ware underwent changes in response to popularity trends and the demand for it throughout the Edo period, which lasted for 250 years.
They are roughly classified into three styles；
"Ko-Imari Style" (Early Imari Style), "Kinrande Style" (gold-painted porcelain) and "Kakiemon Style".
In 1647 overglazing techniques began to spread in Arita. The first who succeeded in creating multicoloured designs was
Kakiemon Sakaida (1596 - 1666). It was a great advance in design since all that was possible before were designs in blue and white.
Arita’s kilns were set up in the 17th century and the founder of Kakiemon style, SAKAIDA KAKIEMON surely influenced some early Orientalizing wares produced by porcelain manufactories at Meissen, Chantilly, or later at Vincennes.
They were exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari between the second half of 17th century and
the first half of 18th century by the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
It is said that there were many enthusiastic collectors of Arita ware among the European nobility.
In response to the demand from Europe, the exported pieces had a whiter background clay and was decorated in bright red.
Many ornaments were made as well, intended for use as decorations on the walls or above fireplaces
in the residences of Europe nobles. Also, a variety of figures and dolls were produced.
With the end of the 17th century and the blossoming of the Genroku culture centering on wealthy merchants, came the manufacture of luxurious Ko-Imari tableware for domestic consumption, decorated with large quantities of gold.
This type of Imari ware is called the Ko-Imari Kinrande style, using the name from Kinran textiles.
The exported pieces were displayed mainly
as interior decoration in European castles.
That is why people favored large pieces
that looked impressive form a distance.
Around the middle of the 18th century, here was a movement away from the trade industry. Imari ware began to spread widely among the different social classes in Japan.
Reflecting the taste and eating habits of the ordinary citizens of Edo, a great deal of tableware was manufactured in underglaze blue – for example, namasu dishes, rectangular dishes, soup cups for buckwheat noodles, and covered bowls, and so on.
These dishes continued to be made, generation after generation, and are still familiar in our daily life.