Japanese Antiques – War-Like Beginnings of Antique Japanese China

 Japanese Antiques – War-Like Beginnings of Antique Japanese China


Over 400 years ago, a Japanese Overlord named Toyotomi Hideyoshi mounted an attack on Korea in order to invade China. This war would, in later years, come to be Japanese Porcelain Ware known as the ‘ceramic war’ and without it, antique Japanese china may very well not exist in the way that it does today.

From this war came the many, many Korean potters who were taken prisoner and brought to Japan. As time passed, their trade flourished in Japan as they took their art to great heights. Many of the ceramic Japanese antiques that exist today were made in the kilns set up by these Korean potters.

Antique Japanese China is Discovered by a Korean

One Korean potter in particular would change the face of antique Japanese plates, bowls, cups, and so on, completely. His name was Yi Sam-pyeong, and it was he who discovered porcelain clay in Arita. Perhaps even without the ‘ceramic wars’ it would have been discovered eventually, but the circumstances could not have been any better.

Following the discovery, Arita quickly blossomed into a porcelain hub for Japan as various kilns sprouted up to take advantage of the newfound industry. Chances are, any porcelain antique Japanese plates dating back to that period were made in Arita itself.

Another War, Another Advancement for Japanese Porcelain

When successive rebellions and wars in China broke out in the 1640’s, Chinese potters fled to Japan in search of livelihood. Welcoming them with open arms, Arita kilns benefited directly from this influx, as the Chinese potters brought with them knowledge that was more valuable than any gold.

Up to this point in time, antique Japanese china was not as refined as the Chinese variety, but now, with the advancements brought over by the migrating Chinese potters, this disparity disappeared. By applying the enamel glaze method, antique Japanese plates grew more and more sought after.



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