24 February 2023

What is Kutani Yoshidaya Style ?

Yoshidaya style's charm is its use of translucent pigment and delicate painting style, as well as its refined, extremely skillfully-drawn pictures. It is painted and covered with yellow glaze–the elaborate and fast brushwork bringing a lightness to the painting. Compared to the Ko-Kutani style, which is characterized by strong gosu lines (black contour lines), the Yoshidaya style is more precise and delicate.

Ko-Kutani Aote style - 17th century

Yoshidaya Style - Around 1830.

The Yoshidaya kiln, where the Yoshidaya style was created, opened in Kutani Village, the birthplace of Ko-Kutani, in order to revive Ko-Kutani ware. However, Yoshidaya-style ware was not just an imitation, and many original works of high artistic quality were produced in the Ko-Kutani Aote style (blue-based overglaze porcelain). The paints used in Yoshidaya style are more subdued and austere than those of Ko-Kutani, and the balance of each color blends well together.

Additionally, the woven pattern is covered with Nanako Komon (fine round shapes) and dots, which complement the main pattern. Though the use of round and dotted patterns differ from piece to piece, it's said painting them onto blank spaces creates a depth in the design. The main patterns are varied: from flowers, birds, landscapes, and people to dyed patterns–charming the viewer's mind and spirit.

Yoshidaya Kiln (1824-31) and Toyoda Den-emon

Yoshidaya Style - Around 1830.

Yoshidaya kiln was built in 1824 beside the Kutani kiln in Kutani Village by Toyoda Den-emon. He was a wealthy merchant of the Daishoji clan and a man of great culture. In his later years, he retired and devoted himself to pottery making. At the age of 72, Toyoda decided to recreate Ko-Kutani ware and opened a kiln in Kutani Village with his own private funds. Although he knew that it would not be profitable to open a kiln in Kutani Village, which was located deep in the mountains and not easy to access, he dared to take the risk. This was because he wanted to demonstrate his strong desire to reproduce Kutani ware by building the Yoshidaya kiln beside the Kutani kiln within the village.

Yoshidaya-style works were well received by aristocrats and intellectuals of the time for their artistry and quality that came close to that of Ko-Kutani ware. However, the pursuit of quality without regard to profitability caused the Yoshidaya kiln's business to suffer, and although the kiln was moved to the town of Yamashiro, where transportation was more convenient, it regrettably closed after about seven years in 1831.

More to Learn about the History of Kutani ware

More to Learn about the History of Kutani ware

Yoshidaya-style tableware holds a strong presence at the dinner table and goes well with simple arrangements. Please click the banner below to view our Yoshidaya-style items.

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