The history of Kutani ware began in 1655, when fine clay minerals were found in the mines of Kutani (now part of Ishikawa Prefecture). The lord of the local Kaga Domain sent an artisan to Arita (in present-day Saga Prefecture) to learn about porcelain-making techniques, who then built a kiln in Kutani. Kutani porcelains made during this early period are called "Ko-Kutani" (Old Kutani), and feature vivid "Iroe" decorations that use the five colors of red, green, yellow, purple, and dark blue. But roughly 50 years after it began, the Kutani kiln was closed down. It was nearly 100 years later when Kutani ware got re-established with the construction of a new kiln in Kanazawa.
Originally, Kutani ware was known for its painting-like Iroe decorations that made skillful use the five colors. As the times changed, new techniques were continuously developed and applied. In the early modern period, wares decorated in a gorgeous style of red and gold became well-known in the West as "Japan Kutani", and many such items were exported to Europe.
Today, Kutani ware artisans have incorporated even newer techniques, producing a wide range of items including art objects and tableware.
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