"Old Imari - Iro-e Enameled Wares" Exhibition

Toguri Museum of Art

poster for "Old Imari - Iro-e Enameled Wares" Exhibition

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Iro-e (overglaze enameled) refers to porcelain made by painting motifs or patterns in various colored glazes on top of a white glaze on porcelain that has been fired at around 1350°C and then firing it again at a low temperature of around 900°C. Red, yellow, green, blue, purple. These iro-e motifs and patterns, which lend vivid color to a range of vessels, first began to appear on Imari ware produced in the 1640s in the Arita region of present day Saga Prefecture. According to Oboe, a text handed down in the Kakiemon family, the founder of the Kakiemon family received instruction from Chinese ceramicists shortly before 1647, and succeeded in developing the technique through a process of trial and error. As it is thought that Imari ware first began to be produced in the 1610s, this means that the iro-e technique was developed in the short span of just 30 years. However, the term iro-e covers a wide range of styles, and the technique underwent a series of complex and splendid changes. First came the old Kutani style, which was richly colored and brimming with vigor, then came the Kakiemon style, with its clever use of white underglaze, and the Kinrande style, whose abundant use of gold color brings to mind the liveliness of the Genroku era. Old Imari ware went through various changes in relation to such things as its purpose, function, and even the fashion of the day, and developed in a magnificent fashion. This exhibition focuses on old Imari and iro-e wares and includes around 100 carefully selected pieces. It is hoped that visitors gain an appreciation of the changing colorful beauty of the times as exhibited in these handsome old Imari and iro-e wares.

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From 2008-06-29 To 2008-09-28

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