March 4th - 18th
H.P.F, Christopher announces a special exhibition of 17th and 18th-century antique Imari porcelain from March 4th to 18th, 2016 coinciding with Asia Week New York. Please just us Friday, March 4th from 5pm to 8pm for a reception party showcasing the exquisite collection of porcelain.
Imari porcelain is a style of Japanese porcelain wares named after the port city where it was shipped to the West. During the 17th-century, Imari porcelain overtook the foreign market with its auspicious motifs and distinctive colors. Although production continues today, antique Imari porcelain from the 17th and 18th-centuries is prized among collectors for its unique style and skilled production technique.
Friday, March 4th
5pm - 8pm
Before the 16th century, China succeeded in firing Porcelain and dominated the export market. However from the early 17th century, craftsmen from Korea (who were seasoned porcelain-makers due to techniques that arrived from their geographically-close neighbor China) came to Arita in Saga prefecture, where porcelain was fired for the first time in Japan. With the end of the Ming Dynasty and political chaos that followed, China was no longer able to export This led to the proliferation of Japanese porcelain throughout the world, including Europe, where having early Imari ware to display in the home held a certain status among the wealthy.
As Chinese porcelain were used as models to first create Imari ware, they often have auspicious omen motifs (patterns of plants, animals or objects that are considered lucky) that originated in China. Shochikubai is a celebratory symbol; budo risumon is thought to bring fertility (or prosperity in descendants); and sansui (mountain water), although not a lucky omen, is often used to symbolize an ideal world. When closely observed, one can often find special meanings behind the interesting patterns of Imari ware.
Usage of the Craft
In the past when ceremonial functions took place in the home, it was normal for families to have around 20 sets of dinnerware for guests. During the Edo period, porcelain was a luxury but also a necessary household item.
The shape of early Imari ware was formed by skilled craftsmen on a potter’s wheel and afterwards painted on with a brush.
Porcelain, which first arrived to Japan in the early Edo period, has been around for 300 years and become a necessity of everyday life. To cover the increasing demand, imban porcelain was developed in the Meiji period which was the first properly finished printed dinnerware in Japan. The technique can be categorized into two methods, which are called ‘zuri-e’ and ‘tensha.’ ‘Zuri-e’ is a method that uses a brush to paint over a specially-made stencil to create the pattern. It is known to be difficult to create patterns with fine lines as the curves of the porcelain make it necessary to use multiple stencils, which causes inevitable seams in the pattern. To resolve this, ‘tensha,' a copperplate printing method became popular. This method uses a technique that engraves the design onto copperplates, which are then used to print on special paper. This is then transferred to the material to create the final print. This method allows for more precision when recreating fine lines. Over the years, patterns gradually diversified and we see unique designs that reflect life in that time, such as images of dancers wearing straw-hats, the Japanese flag, as well as interesting, bold prints of an elephant or tengu.