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Bizen  

Richard L. Wilson

Japanese centre of ceramics production. High-fired ceramic wares were manufactured from the end of the 12th century in and around the village of Inbe, Bizen Province (now Okayama Prefect.). This region had been a centre for manufacturing Sue-style stonewares and Haji-style earthenwares from the 6th century ad (see Japan, §IX, 2, (ii), (a)). At the end of the Heian period (794–1185) the potters moved from the old Sue-ware sites around Osafune village to Inbe, just to the north. In response to increased agricultural development, the new kilns manufactured kitchen mortars (suribachi), narrow-necked jars (tsubo) and wide-necked jars (kame). During the 13th century the wares show less of the grey-black surfaces typical of the old Sue tradition and more of the purple-reddish colour characteristic of Bizen. In the 14th century Bizen-ware production sites shifted from the higher slopes to the foot of the mountains. Kilns expanded in capacity, ranging up to 40 m in length. Vast quantities of Bizen wares, particularly kitchen mortars, were exported via the Inland Sea to Kyushu, Shikoku and numerous points in western Honshu, establishing Bizen as the pre-eminent ceramics centre in western Japan. By the 15th century the Bizen repertory had expanded to include agricultural wares in graded sizes; wares then featured combed decoration and such functional additions as lugs and pouring spouts. Plastic–forming was assisted by the introduction of a fusible clay found 2–4 m under paddy-fields. This clay, which fires to an almost metallic hardness, is still in use today....

Article

Tanba  

Richard L. Wilson

Centre of Japanese ceramics production based in and around Tachikui and Kamaya villages (Hyōgo Prefect.). Together with Bizen, Shigaraki, Echizen, Seto and Tokoname, Tanba is one of the few Japanese kiln centres that has been active from the 12th century to the present day. The origins of Tanba ware are not perfectly understood, but recent excavations of the Sanbontōge kiln (late 12th century–early 13th), thought to be the earliest Tanba kiln, suggest that the Echizen (Fukui Prefect.) and possibly the Tokoname (Aichi Prefect.) kilns played a central role in the ware’s development. The principal wares, which reflect improvements in Japanese agricultural production in the 12th century, include a limited number of kitchen mortars (suribachi), and greater quantities of wide-mouthed jars (kame) and narrow-mouthed jars (tsubo). Ten kiln sites, spanning a period from the 12th to the 16th centuries, have been identified, and it is thought that these were single-chamber tunnel kilns (...

Article

Yixing  

Rose Kerr

Town in Jiangsu Province, China, situated c. 5 km west of Lake Tai, famous during the Qing period (1644–1911) and the 20th century for its high-quality teawares made of red stoneware. Most of the kilns lie to the south of Yixing in the village of Dingshuzhen.

It has been tentatively established that the earliest purplish-red Yixing stonewares were produced as early as the Song period (960–1279); examples include two pear-shaped vessels with dark purplish stoneware body and partial olive-brown glaze, found in a disused well in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, in 1961 (see Lo, p. 15). Excavations in that area have revealed kilns as well as sherds of coarse red stoneware, including many fragments of teaware. The production of Yixing wares is first well documented for the mid-16th century (e.g. teapot from the tomb of the court official Wu Jing (d 1533); Nanjing, Jiangsu Prov. Mus.). It was at this time that the names of individual potters were first recorded. They adopted the practice for which Yixing became famous, that of marking their wares with their own signatures (e.g. hexagonal red stoneware teapot signed by ...