features of Meiji kutani ① porcelain painting like a Japanese painting

(image from 飯山華亭)

In the Meiji period, ceramics made in traditional styles such as Kutani, Arita, and Kyo were exhibited together with cloisonne and lacquerware at the Vienna World Expo in 1873. In order to further differentiate, for the Philadelphia  World Expo in 1876, the Meiji government recommended the ceramics should have Japanese painting-like designs and colors, and the artistic beauty and delicacy. The government itself provided some series of design pictorial records and technical guidance.

The concept of “Japanese painting” as a synonym for Western painting in the early Meiji period was considered to be a “painting” that inherited traditional Japanese aesthetics and techniques such as the Kano school and Rin-pa school, and it was advocated that “designing” was important for crafts as well. In this way, it was promoted to incorporate Japanese-style and artistic expressions into the designs of exhibits at the World Expo and exports.

Similarly, in Meiji Kutani, Japanese painting and artistic expression methods were adopted. For example, at the Abe Omi Kiln in Kanazawa, excellent painters who learned Japanese painting such as Kodera Chinzan (小寺椿山), Haruna Shigeharu (春名繁春), Sasada Yuzan (笹田友山), Tsuda Nanfu (津田南皐), Shimizu Seikan (清水清閑), Iiyama Katei (飯山華亭), and Kashiwa Kakei (柏 華渓) drew by the painting style of aka-e or colored paintings. After that, many master craftsmen drew designs that imitated the paintings of the Kano school, and created works with brush strokes reminiscent of Japanese paintings. Therefore, in many works of Meiji kutani, we can see painting methods like Japanese paintings on the Meiji kutani.

② reproduction of ao-kutani