Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 9 Learning about history of ceramics

Today i'm going to see one of the most famous pottery handcraft in Japan which is located in Arita, Saga Prefecture. Arita is a small town in western of Kyushu that is famous throughout Japan for its pottery, known as Arita-yaki. As i went through the city, i noticed that most of the town's attractions are somehow related to pottery, museums, archaeological sites, shops and even the the local shrine as well.

Tozan shrine is one of the temple in Arita that known to have "porcelain touch". The shrine it self was built in the mid 1600s and is dedicated to one of the most influential of the Korean potters who introduced porcelain making to Arita. The shrine is unique for having both a torii gate and statues of komainu guardian dogs that made out of porcelain. 

John Lennon ceramics
One of Picasso's painting

Pablo Picasso ceramics

Just behind the Ceramic Museum, there is a Studio that left open by visitor, so you can see how the the craftsmanship skills of handmade freehand drawing was applied. First, the porcelain were formed with potter's wheel molding, then after letting it dry the porcelain parts are being bisque-fired, which entails heating them at a relatively low temperature (900°C). By doing this, the danger of shrinking and breaking during the later firing can be minimized, and the painting can be applied much more easily.

 Firing place
You can see the artists painting the ceramics on the spot
Beautiful illusions created when you peek through the Kaleidoscope
Arita-yaki Kaleidoscope

Later on, we went to Prefectural Museum of Kyushu Ceramic Arts which said to be the best museum on the local pottery. the place was pretty well designed which entirely covers the whole story all about how the Arita-yaki was initally started in Kyushu. The museum showcases collections of artifacts that have been discovered from hundred of years ago until present day. 

It was stated that the history of Arita-yaki dates back about 400 years, when a Japanese general attempted to invade Korea and brought back several highly skilled Korean craftsmen to Japan. One of these craftsmen discovered kaolin, the rock required for the making of porcelain. Consequently, Arita became the first place of porcelain production in Japan. 

The evolution of pottery in Japan

A well described kind variations of ceramics 

Step by step process of making the porcelain

A unique structure was built during ancient times to distribute fire efficently

Illustration of market situation in late 19th century

Though i'm not a real huge fan of porcelains, but visiting this museum makes me understand how human have gone through long process of evolution and has constantly improving their technology and combine it with art discipline towards perfection on making potteries like we have now in present day.

Nice painting of Mount Fuji

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