Saturday, January 2, 1971

Japanese "Kakiemon" Pocelain

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The name “Kakiemon” comes from the surname given to the members of the Sakaida family, whose kilns were installed near Arita (on Kyushu island) in 1617, and where the family’s descendents (12th generation) still work today. The first Kakiemon (1596-1666) seems to have learned the secret of the glaze in 1644. From that year until 1720, exporting to Europe was extremely intense and was carried out through the intermediary of the Dutch who had settled on the island of Deshima (Nagasaki bay) in 1641. 
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“Kakiemon” porcelain was known in the West in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries under the designation “first quality colored in Japan.” Its decoration was incorrectly called “Korean decoration.” It was copied in the XVIIIth century in Chantilly, Mennecy, Saint-Cloud, Meissen (Saxony) and England. 
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“Kakiemon” porcelain is distinguished by its characteristic glazes: 
- azure blue 
- soft orange-red 
- primrose yellow 
- grass green 
sometimes combined with blue underglazing and gold. The glazes were applied with a very light hand, most often without outlines and leaving considerable space for the white grounds.