From around the middle of the Meiji period, while the production of “aka-e” (赤絵) reached the highest level, crude products became more and more widespread, and “aka-e” itself became tired from the domestic and abroad customers. At that time, one of the master craftsmen who witnessed the situation, Matsumoto Sahei (松本佐平 store name Shoun-do 松雲堂) developed a new style of painting which fused both “aka-e” and “traditional ao-kutani (kutani that used a lot of green, blue, or purple)” around 1893. It was again called “ao-kutani” The traditional ao-kutani were reviewed again at Yoshida-ya kiln, Matsuyama kiln, etc. at the end of Edo period, and the painting skill was succeeded to Meiji period.
The characteristic of ao-kutani is that the design was drawn on the entire surface of the body, and was more Japanese painting style. Matsumoto had enough blank to paint the design on the blank surface. Almost of the designs were flower-and-bird drawn with unique color paintings (using more colorful paints than traditional five paints), and not only traditional Japanese paints but also both Japanese and Western paints were used. Therefore, compared to the previous “ao-kutani”, the glaze is thinner overall, but it is richer in color. Under the influence of aka-e and gold, colored and gold kutani was also produced to add an accent.
色 絵 金 彩