Arita porcelain is a name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita. Arita is known as a area where porcelain was produced at the first time in Japan in 1616. The name of Imari porcelain might be known widely in the world. Imari porcelain is the European collectors name for Arita porcelain. Arita porcelain was exported to Europe from the port of Imari where ten kilometers distance from Arita. Today Arita town is still one of the major porcelain product area in Japan.
During feudal times(the 17th through the 19th centuries), Japan , surrounded by the sea, practiced self-isolationism by excluding all foreigners from her shores. Only one small window was open. It was Nagasaki, where a small settlement called Dejima was provided for a few Dutch and Chinese who were engaged in licensed trade. It was too minor both in quantity and in quarity to influence Japanese life style and culture. It can be said that Japan was orphan, isolated from international cultural intercourse for 300 years. Under such circumstances, Arita was a rear exception. This small village was surrounded by mountains and located on Kyusyu Island, far from Edo, the political capital at that time, later renamed Tokyo. Yet Arita was tied closely to far-off European countries. The tradition of Arita is said to be adopting foreign culture, refining it, and creating a unique beauty.
The history of Arita, where the world-famous ‘Ko-Imari’ was produced, began with the introduction of the techniques from Korea. In the end of the 16 th century, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the political ruler of Japan at that time, invaded Korea. When his armed forces withdrew from Korea. some of the feudal lords who participated in campaign under Hideyoshi brought a number of Korean potters back to Japan. Among these potters was Ri Sanpei(Korean Name Lee Cham-Pyung). He discovered Kaolin in Arita and produced fine white porcelain for the first time in Japan. Soon the potters settled down in Arita and became naturalized citizens of Japan. They created fine white porcelain with a unique Japanese beauty, different from the Korean originals. During its refining process, Arita porcelain was influenced by the products of Keitokuching, the Chinese national kiln at that time, and also by the Indian and Persain patterns which seem to have been introduced to Japan through the Silk Road.
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