Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ARITA YAKI (有田焼き) and IMARI (伊万里 き )-Ceramics of Saga Prefecture

Aritayaki (or also known as Imari named after the port by which it was exported) is made in Arita, Saga Prefecture. There are many styles which include Kakiemon, Nabeshima, and Ko-Imari.    

There are several forms of pottery that fall under the Arita umbrella including: Arita, Imari, Hasami, Hizen,Okawachi,  Nabeshima, Mikawachi or Hirado. Hasami and Mikawachi are actually in Nagasaki Prefecture. The pottery in this area of Kyushu is all intertwined. Historically (before present day prefectures) this area was in one Province called Hizen. Because Arita and Imari are more internationally known they will all be grouped grouped together here.


                                               11.5cm vase,  mountain and stream mark

                                    18 cm tall vase with modern mountain and stream mark.
 10 cm. covered dish with modern mountain and stream mark.

    12.5 cm diameter plate with modern mountain and stream mark.

22 cm vase with modern mountain and stream mark 

Modern mountain and stream mark 

Vintage rice bowls with just the mountain stream 

This is the main store in Arita.
Some links:

Blue Winery Collection:

Old Fukagawa is a term used for Fukagawa wares made from the beginning of the company so that would include the late 1800's through the first decade or two of the 20th century. The marks were hand painted back then so there is a bit more variety in the marks. There are some lovely examples at 

   An example from my collection 
Mark used 1894-1920




           Mid Meiji Hichozan Fukagawa plate


       Link:    http://www.koransha.co.jp/koransha/koransha_mei.html



This Koransha MARK looks like ones used early to mid 20th century (I would guess around 1930)

This mark is from the 1970's

Fairly modern Koransha MARK

"Ochid Lace"

Made for Rotary International 

I visited the Arita in February.  This is the main store


 IMAEMON (今右衛門 )-Iro Nabeshima

Iro Nabeshima, in the Edo period was only made for the Lords. The family of Imaemon Imaizumi was commissioned  to apply the overglaze enamels. Since the Meiji era the family has done the whole production process. The secrets are passed down from parent to one child of the family. Imaemon XIII was designated as a Living National Treasure. In 2002 his son Masato succeeded  him as Imaemon XIV.

       This is a plate made by Imaemon XIV 

Imaemon XIV Mark
             Imaemon XII          

                          This was made by Imaemon XIII. 

Tanaka Kazuaki (田中一晃) b.1933

Eiho Gama

HAKUSAN TOKI (Hakusan Porcelain Company)
(Hasami Yaki)



I believe this is by Kakiemon XIII. 


KISEN (其泉)

           其泉作 有田焼 色絵 春秋文豆丸型香炉


Nishiyama Mark




Circa 1970's

Hasami Yaki 
Rinkurou Gama 林九郎窯
The kiln has been producing beautiful wares since 1968



Aritayaki tea cups Kiyohide Kiln MARK

Aritayaki deep bowls Kiyohide Kiln MARK

Aritayaki deep bowls Kiyohide Kiln

Kiyohide Kiln MARK

Footed dishes-Kiyohide
              Arita Kiyohide 有田 清秀




Azuchi Kiln


Ryuzan 柳山





Mikawachi-yaki is actually from Nagasaki Prefecture and is considered as part of Hirado pottery, although it is usually grouped in the Arita catagory.

Yamato MARK



(Right to left) Nabeshima Yuuzan-gama

  This lovely incense burner was made by Oshu (大秀).

Kawazoe Seizan Gama


                                        These plates and covered bowls have three children at play

This cup has five children at play

     Nabeshima Sehyou (鍋島瀬兵)

This is the style of painting that has children in play, usually chasing butterflies. It is taken after Chinese painting. I read somewhere (can't find the reference now...should have written it down!! Drat!) that this style of porcelain painting "Karako" meaning Chinese child or children was produced for three levels of social status. The three children design was made for the common people, the five children design was made for people of a higher status (daimyo or lord and clan) and the seven children design was made for the shogun. The sometsuke (blue and white) is most common but there are Karako designs in other colors as well, red being perhaps the second most common. 
Update: This is in Japanese but discusses the use of 3,5,7 children motif. 





Kazan MARK






           This vase by SHUHO is done in the old Kakiemon style. The colors used, flowers and birds, and the large areas of open white "canvas" are typical of Kakiemon.


This is another common SHUHO Mark



SENHO or Senpo


 Senho (senpo) MARK 



                                                            Arita. Mansen?



Tomnaga Genroku


This piece was in my "Unknown" section for a while. I finally discovered its origin. This is made in Arita by KEIZAN.  http://aritayaki.jp/kamamoto/keizan.html

SHOUEMON (松右エ門 )

YAMATOKU (ヤマトく or 山徳)

Tezuza Kinsei (often found with a yamatoku incised mark)


                              Showa Retro

Generic Imari Marks

This is a great book for identifying Fukagawa, Koransha and Seiji Kaisha during the Meiji period and into the first part of Taisho. It is in Japanese but there are many marks and some have western dates associated with them. 

Arita/Hasami Koushou Gama 幸祥窯

INOUE MANJI-Living National Treasure



  1. Just came upon your blog while looking for some japanese porcelain marks, and I believe the unidentified mark in the picture just above the "Aritayaki meoto or "couple" yunomi tea cups, Kiyohide Kiln", is Takamine.


  2. Roger, Thanks for your comment. I think this is the reading as well, but I want to verify by Japanese sources before I post it. Do you have a reference?

  3. Hi
    This is great site but do you have older japanese marks.
    I am looking marks from 1920-1950 like most european japanese items.
    I'am holding my hands vase with Fukagawa mark but it is not vertically it is horizontally with 3 marks.

    1. I researched your description a bit. I did find a 1900 (Meiji 1933) plate with the mountain mark followed horizontally by the Fukagawa Sei (深川製). I don't know if this helps. The link was takashimaya.co.jp but I found it through google images in Japanese.

    2. Oops, that should be Meiji 33 not 1933.

  4. Hello Marmie! Can you please clarify for me, when you say "modern mountain and stream mark " in regards to the Fukagawa marks, what you mean by that, do you have a date/ year range? I know some folks use the word "modern" for early 20th century as in "not an antique", but we tend to use the word "vintage" these days for pre-WWII, so was hoping for clarification! Thanks so much, Sharon

  5. The standardized mountain stream mark has been used since at least the 1960's or 1970's. Some confuse the similar hand painted mark from the early 20th century with the more modern mark. Fukagawa has used various mountain steam designs through their history which are repeated in some form. One must look at other clues besides just the mark as you know well. Finding catalogs from the time of production and sale is helpful. The Fukagawa company site has a few of the old designs and marks in their archives.


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