"Master Techniques of Ceramic Art"
Mikawachi Ware, also known as Hirado Ware, is a pottery made in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. Known for its translucent white porcelain, it was highly popular in Europe during the trend toward Japanese crafts in the West in the 20th century. Mikawachi Ware is remarkable for its delicate modeling techniques that push the limits of porcelain, such as openwork and relief carving, and for its beautiful painting that looks like a single piece of art.
About Mikawachi Ware
Mikawachi ware is a pottery production area known for its outstanding porcelain modeling techniques and picturesque paintings. Mikawachi Ware has a history of nearly 400 years in Nagasaki, Kyushu region, where many kilns, including Arita Ware, are located.
Mikawachi Ware was founded by a potter named Geo-gwan, who was brought back from Korea by Shigenobu Matsura, a feudal lord of the Hirado domain, at the end of the 16th century. He changed his family name to Imamura and became a naturalized Japanese.
Geo-gwan moved to Mikawachi and built a kiln with Goryeo-tteog, a potter who initiated the Karatsu ware that was born in northern Saga Prefecture at the same time, and 127 other potters.
In 1662, Imamura Yajibei, a grandson of Geo-guan, began full-scale production of porcelain, also the superior three-dimensional work, such as openwork, that can still be seen today, started to be produced.
The beautiful Mikawachi wares, which boasted of outstanding techniques, exports to overseas began in 1831, and they were exhibited at the Paris Exposition and the Chicago Exposition, where they were highly acclaimed.
From the late Meiji period to the early Showa period, numerous master potters of Mikawachi ware appeared, and the area grew to become one of the leading porcelain production centers in Japan.
The Charm of Mikawachi Ware
Since the opening of the kiln in 1598, the works of Mikawachi ware have been presented to the imperial court and shoguns of the time, and have always been devoted to the production of high-class "pottery" from daily necessities to interior decorations.
Mikawachi ware items create a fine tabletop setting, as if a sculpture or painting were on display.
Mikawachi ware is characterized by its translucent and beautiful white porcelain material. It is said to be the color of pure white pursued to the utmost limit.
The delicate and graceful dyeing, openwork, and other workmanship on the fine ground and white porcelain, as well as the pearly luster as if fired at high temperatures, overflow with a sense of graceful luxury, and are truly a gem worthy of being an art piece.
The skills and spirit of our predecessors have been handed down to today's Mikawachi ware, which is designated as a traditional national craft.