Sunday, July 24, 2016

Taisho Era Ceramics in All Their Variety!

*Under construction. I will continue to add to this over time. 

The Taisho Era (1912-1926) with all its ups and downs produced wares from the dull to the divine, from the mediocre to the magnificent. This post will be mostly deal with the everyday wares that are readily available. As ceramics did not magically change precisely decade by decade, emperor reign by emperor reign, there will be some overlap. Technically some examples provided here may be very late Meiji, but most were made during the Taisho era, likewise some late Taisho era wares may overlap with very early Showa. In the Taisho era ceramics became more mass produced. As demand rose the more rapidly wares were produced. Some wares are downright sloppy, while others are quite nicely done.

Export Ware 輸出陶器
Much of the Taisho period included Nippon marked wares (1891-1921), which were exported in great numbers to the west. In the latter part of the Taisho period was the start of the "Made in Japan" period beginning Sept 1921. Morimura/ Noritake was producing many lovely western style wares for an ever demanding market. Many other companies popped up with similar designs which causes headaches for collector's today. Many of the records for these companies have been lost or destroyed making it nearly impossible to attribute some marks to particular companies. Some of these companies disappeared after a short time, others were bought by other companies, some continued for many years and some are still in business today. 

Transferware small dishes for export with "Japan" marked on it. This was made after September of 1921. They are similar in size to the one made for the domestic market. They must have really been cranking out those plates given the quality shown here. 

These were likely made in the early 1920's for export. You can see that the wobbly dish (very uneven) as well as the kiln flaws indicate rapid mass production with little quality control. They are, however, quaint and an example of trying to meet the high demand in the export market. 
The saucer size (11cm) is the same as the small mamezara made domestically during the Taisho period. 

Domestic Transfer ware 印判

The small plates above are all transferware of the late Meiji to Taisho era. These are very typical of the wares of the period and they are found in abundance in most antiques shops in Japan. Most come in blue and white but green was also popular. The quality varies as you can see. The typical small plate re called "mamezara" (bean plate), were generally 11cm in diameter, where as in the early Meiji era they were about 10.5cm.

This 24cm serving plate uses the old motifs but uses transfer, some hand painting and luster. The colors used were updated to the "times". I would date this between 1921-1930. If not for the luster I would have marked it somewhat earlier. 

This transfer ware small dish is a bit nicer (clearer transfer, mounding and glaze) and so probably is later Taisho or perhaps early Showa era. 

This is a Kutani lid to a bowl that probably dates to the Taisho period according to similar wares I have seen.

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