Kutani Porcelain: The most beautiful collection of ceramics

Kutani porcelain belongs to a type of Japanese ceramic, originated in the city of the same name in the 17th century. It has been highly appreciated since its origins and has a characteristic color and glaze that give it a special beauty.

In this article we will tell you about their exciting history, what the pieces look like, how to recognize them and much more.

Tetera de porcelana Kutani
Kutani porcelain teapot by Niffle Ltd.

How is a Kutani identified?

There are several ways to tell if a piece of Kutani porcelain is authentic. The first step is to look for the name on the piece. The style of their porcelain pieces is different from other types of Japanese porcelain. They are usually hand-painted and have distinctive patterns that are distinctly Japanese. Some Kutani pieces are even adorned with cute Maneki Neko figures (the famous lucky and fortunate cat figure).

Kutani parts are usually marked on the bottom of the piece. The marking can also be embossed or engraved, but this type of marking is rarer. Many pieces are decorated with motifs depicting scenes from Japanese history and culture. They also feature detailed paintings of historical figures and personages. Some of these pieces date back to the 19th century.

kutani porcelain 2
Characteristic marks of Kutani works (from Dishlishious)

Another way to tell if a piece is Kutani is its age. Its production was most prolific during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is usually made of porcelain and earthenware, and often features a combination of red and gold. The characteristic designs and colors of this type of ceramic help to identify it.

Kutani pottery is characterized by a unique combination of color and design. It has a long history, spanning more than 350 years. This pottery has a style of its own and is characterized by the strong brightness of its characteristic colors: green, red, purple and navy blue.

This unique style was developed and patronized by the lords of the Kaga domain. It was produced for over seventy years, and is one of the most popular types of Japanese pottery. Kutani ware is produced in two different types of ware: Aole, which is decorated with a dark blue, and Iroe, which features deep green, blue and purple colors.

Jarrón en tonos verdes, decorado con dragones, de  Reiwa Antiques
Vase in shades of green, decorated with dragons, by Reiwa Antiques

What is Japanese Kutani porcelain?

Kutani porcelain is created in the village of the same name, which is in the Kaga region. Its production began in the late 17th century, and today it is still known for its beauty. This pottery is famous all over the world, and is often found in special collections and museums. Japanese Kutani porcelain is known for its colorful painted designs.

The process of creating Kutani pottery varies greatly in style. Many pieces are decorated with gold leaf, giving them a luxurious look. Other pieces are simple, plain designs. The gold leaf is usually applied using a technique known as “Yuri-Kinsai”.

Some pieces are decorated with birds and people. Some vases have molded handles. Kutani vases are marked with a red writing sign.

Kutani ware was first introduced in Europe in the 1860s, thereafter it was sold throughout Europe and the United States. Today, there is a large production of this porcelain and it has become a symbol of Japanese art and culture.

Plato del período Meiji
Meiji period dish by 2nd Life Objects

What is authentic Kutani?

If you are thinking of buying an original piece, it is important to know what to look for in a piece. The markings on Kutani pottery vary in color and design, but are usually red on green or gold on red. They may be impressed, incised or applied on or under the glaze. Sometimes the markings are centered or off-center.

Kutani ware is one of the most popular styles of Japanese pottery. It is known for its brightly colored glazes and intricate hand-painted designs. Kutani ware has been prized in Japan for centuries, but it is also appreciated outside the country. Overglazing is used, which gives Kutani ware its brilliant translucent colors.

History of Kutani ceramics

Kutani ware has evolved from a primitive style of pottery to a wide variety of styles. The most common styles of Kutani ware are green and blue-green ceramics. These pieces feature elaborate pictorial ornamentation and are famous for their rich colors and strong lines.

The term “Kutani” has been loosely applied to a wide range of 19th-century Japanese ceramics with no direct connection to the Kutani district of Ishikawa Prefecture. However, some authorities claim that most of the early Kutani pottery was produced in Arita, a town in present-day Saga Prefecture.

Kutani ware is one of the oldest and most beautifully designed wares in the world. It dates back to the early Edo period, when the Kutani region (and the rest of Kaga Province) was ruled by the Maeda family.

The first lord of the Daishoji domain, Maeda Toshiharu, is credited with developing the art of porcelain making. During his reign, the Maeda family was known for its cultivation of culture. In 1655, he sent his son Goto Saijiro to the nearby village of Arita to learn the process of pottery making.

The first piece considered Kutani is believed to have been fired in 1656. The kilns closed temporarily in the 1730s, but by the 19th century, new overglazing techniques developed by Saijiro helped the area to continue production.

The style has been divided into two phases, Ko-Kutani, dating from the 17th and early 18th centuries, and Saik-Kutani, dating from a revival of pottery production in the 19th century.

In the 18th century, kilns in the area began to produce new styles and colors. In addition to the Shoza style, other workshops began to appear, such as those of Wakasugi and Ono. The Yoshidaya school opened in Kutani in 1824.

At the time, kutani ware was considered a truly unique and traditional Japanese art form. It was famous for its elaborate figurative designs and vibrant dark colors.

Juego de taza y platos
Cup and saucer set from Niffle Ltd.

Kutani Porcelain Tea Set

A Kutani porcelain tea set is something very appreciated and an icon of the art of this Japanese region, it usually includes, in addition to the teapot with lid, a sugar bowl with lid, a creamer and tea cups. Characteristic are their bright colors, often five are used, and their unique designs.

The result of artisan work following several processes, these pieces are the achievement of artists who have dedicated years to learn the craft, as well as hours to create these magnificent tea sets.

Juego de té de porcelana Kutani
Kutani porcelain tea set, by Unique Demitasse

Value of Kutani porcelain

The value of Kutani porcelain can be difficult to pinpoint. This ancient art form has a long history and is still made in Japan. While the most basic ceramics are available at an affordable price, more sophisticated works can fetch high sums.

This type of pottery, produced from the 17th century to the present day, is usually marked to identify the pieces, although there are some that are not marked.

However, there are some signs that can help determine their origin, such as their colors, designs, and the fact that many pieces of Kutani porcelain were decorated with gold.

The distinctive marks that distinguish it from other porcelains can be of any color, but most commonly they are red on green or gold on red. In some cases, the markings are printed or incised. They may be centered or off-center.

Ancient Kutani ware is generally regarded as “green Kutani” and has a rich pictorial design. Saiko Kutani style combines western and traditional Kutani styles.

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This of course does not affect the selling price.

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