Arita Porcelain in the Meiji period

Tachibana Museum

 From Count Tachibana’s collection

Westernization in Meiji Japan
In the wake of the Meiji Restoration in 19th Century Japan, the inflow of Western technology and culture prompted people to adopt Western lifestyles, which led to the creation of a Japanese high society. People began to wear shoes and western clothes, cut off their top-knots, and the ban on eating meat and dairy products was lifted. People also started building western-styled houses of stone and brick, rather than wood. This wave of “Westernization” rapidly prevailed, and replaced relatively simple Japanese styles. In fact, it was openly accepted, in spite of the slight confusion that came in its wake. Rows of Japanese houses commingled with Western skyscrapers can strike us as discordant, but the sight has become part of the modern landscape that we have grown accustomed to.

Flower Vase with design of Dragon and Clouds in Overgraze Enamels
This was presumed to have been ordered as a furnishing in a Western style-building. It was made around 1910 and owned by the Tachibana family. In an aged Tachibana family document there is a curious entry regarding a list of vases donated to the Tachibanas by someone from Yanagawa who was living in Saga. Unfortunately, since the manufacturing date is unknown, and there is no description of the pattern, it remains unclear whether it was made as a one-off or was one part of a pair.

Flower Vase with design of Dragon and Clouds in Overgraze Enamels(inside of foot)

Sugar Bowl with Gion-mamori (Talisman) Crest Design blue and white, gold glazing

It was ordered along with the completion of the Western-style building in 1910. It would have been a tea set used in the study or drawing room after dinner. A 31-piece tea set consisting of 4 kinds of items, complete with a teapot, sugar bowl, dessert plates, cups and saucers. The Fukagawa-seiji (motif of Mt. Fuji with a flowing river) trade mark was inscribed on the base of the items or the inside lid of the teapot.

Teacup and Saucer with a Gion-mamori (Talisman) blue and white Crest Design and gold glazing

The box of tea cups has “one set of 3 dozen tea cups which were coated with Yoraku (luxurious paint) and the family crest,” “Hizen Arita kiln, Made in Fukagawa-seiji, the purveyor to the Imperial Household Agency.” This means that 3 dozen, 36-piece tea cups were ordered at that time. They are modern designed tea cups as you can see, and the Yanagawa clan family crest is inscribed with bright sky-blue Gosu (cobalt oxide) on the Yoraku pattern which was outlined with gold dye. The classic Yoraku pattern of Ko-imari style is alternately displayed with motifs of leaf fan and Kensaki (the point of a sword) inside the motif of petals hi-lighted with gold. The combination of gold and bright blue on a white background give a noble and refreshing impression.

Dinnerware set with blue and white wisteria design
This is a dinnerware set for banquets, which was ordered along with the completion of the Western style-building in 1910. It remained a set of 82 pieces of 21 types in addition to 1 type set with different wisteria designs (a set of gravy boats with lids and saucers without the family crest). All of them are inscribed with “蘭” indicating that they were made in Kouransya.

Source Bowl with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

Sauce Boat with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

Tureen with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

Compote with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

Casserole with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

Coffee Pot with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

Sugar Bowl with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

Teacup and Saucer with Wisteria Design
blue and white
Arita ware

By : Tachibana Museum
Credits: Story

Tachibana Foundation
TACHIBANA MUSEUM

Bibliography
MIYAHARA Kanae "Western tableware" - Art of YanagawaⅡ‐ Yanagawa city 2007  

Curated by
UENO Kaori (TACHIBANA MUSEUM)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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