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Ayatakado Readings

Kutani Purple

20 November 2015

 Ko Kutani (Old Kutani) was produced some 350 years ago and the remaining pieces have artistic, historical and archaeological values. The decoration styles called Ao-de and Gosai-de of Ko Kutani ware used overglaze enamels in green, navy, yellow, red (for Gosai-de only) and brilliant colour of purple along with bold and unique designs, which fascinate us.

 Ko Kutani has some unsolved mysteries. On the one hand, it is said to have been fired in Kutani village deep in the mountains of Kaga, in present-day Ishikawa prefecture, in the mid-17th. On the other hand, however, archaeological findings illustrate a theory that Ko Kutani was mostly produced in Arita in Kyushu, where Japan's first porcelain production began. In any event, Ko Kutani was fired either in Kutani or Arita, or both. And then, the production of this mysterious decorative porcelain ware was suddenly ended and it disappeared from history in the beginning of the 18th century. The kilns in Kutani village were abandoned, and the porcelain production in Arita was shifted to Ko Imari (Old Imari) style on which rich red decoration was applied to be exported to the European market in the latter half of 17th century onward until the mid-18th century.

 More than a century later since the last piece was fired, Ko Kutani style was recreated not in Arita but in Kaga, where Kutani ware is still being produced today. The graceful Ko Kutani purple was revived in Kurtani ware, and it was handed down to posterity in the region. Purple is the colour that can represent authenticity that was originated from Ao-de and Gosai-de of Ko Kutani in olden times.

Ikeshima Naoto talks about his Ao-de Kutani production

Ikeshima Naoto's Ao-de Kutani works

Shibata Yukika talks about her Kutani production

Shibata Yukika's Kutani works