Of all the forms of art in Japan, that of pottery is perhaps the best illustration of the Japanese feeling for individuality. Japanese porcelains do not show this as pottery does; porcelains often follow stereotyped shapes and patterns. But the two together go far in sustaining Japan's reputation as the cultural melting pot of the Orient.
Through her love for simplicity and naturalness, Japan has contributed much to the world's ceramic art. The nation, however, owes a great debt to older cultures, as this attractive and authoritative book points out. Four great culture waves swept over Japan's little islands, deeply influencing her ceramic art. The first was that of the T'ang dynasty (618-907) and the Sung dynasty (960-1126) of China, which brought with it the beautiful celadons, known as seiji in Japan, and three-color pottery (sansai). The Chinese were the greatest pottery makers in the world. From their glazed, hard-fired pottery there emerged the marvelous, white translucent porcelain, one of the wonders of the medieval world. From Korea, in the 16th century, came a crude form of porcelain, whitewares (hakuji), and under-glaze blue wares (sometsuke). The third cultural wave, about the middle of the 17th century, brought the Chinese art of the overglaze decoration on pottery. The fourth great influence was undoubtedly cultural, but was of doubtful artistic value, exerted by the demand for wares pleasing to the peoples of other countries. This was first felt early in the 17th century, spearheaded by Dutch traders, and then in the 20th century, following the demand by American merchants. This compreensive and profusely illustrated work tells how to distinguish Japanese porcelains from Chinese, and how to recognize modern reproductions of genuine old wares. It is completely indexed, contains a lenghlty bibliography, and lists Chinese dates important in any discussion of Oriental ceramics. Crammed with information on the history, esthetics, and technical aspects of the ceramics of Japan and the Orient, the book is an invaluable guide to scholars, collectors, and dealers. It is, in fact, a work of art in itself.;"So much misinformation has been bruited about concerning Oriental ceramics that an authoritative volume of this sort is indeed a welcome one.This book represents a work of fine scholarship." review by the Antiques Journal.
Published by Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan, 1971
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