Japanese blue-and-white pottery is known as Sometsuke, literally “dye applied”, because the colour was likened to traditional indigo-dyed linen. The ceramics are decorated by hand, stencil or transfer-print with a blue pigment, traditionally cobalt oxide, over which a transparent glaze is then applied, and once fired the underglaze decorations become a vivid shade of blue. This method originated during China’s Song dynasty (960-1279) and is believed to have been perfected around the beginning of the Ming dynasty in the 14th century. Blue-and-white pottery was introduced to Japan at the start of the 17th century in the form of export Tianqi or Ko-Sometsuke ("Old Sometsuke") porcelain from Jingdezhen, which was imitated in the kilns at Arita before spreading to other areas including Kyoto, Seto, Hasami and Mikawachi, each developing their own unique variations of Sometsuke.
Teacup Set of 5
|Product||5-piece Teacup Set|
|Dimensions||Ø8.8cm x 5.8cm|
|Weight||5 x 195g|
|Decoration||Blue and white floral design (Some-kamon 染家紋)|
|Artist's mark||Signature on base|
Each item is handmade and unique, therefore sizing is approximate and paintings may differ slightly from the product photos
Kuramoto Keiichi (倉元 慶一) was born in Kyoto in 1961 and specialises in blue and white Kyo-yaki porcelain with floral and landscapte motifs. After his studies he was apprenticed to his Father, inheriting the family kiln and Hōzan name in 1999 as the third generation. In 2008 he was certified as a Traditional Master Craftsman (伝統工芸士).
The Kumidashi is a short, light, handle-free teacup traditionally used to serve Sencha during Senchadō: the Japanese leaf tea ceremony (as opposed to Sadō for matcha powdered green tea). Kumidashi with mouths that spread outwards are particularly suitable for high-grade teas as the shape helps to amplify the aroma. Often sold in sets of five, Kumidashi are the choice of teacup when entertaining guests.
Both Kyo- and Kiyomizu-yaki (清水焼) are general terms, often used together or interchangeably, to refer to pottery produced in Kyoto, covering a variety of different styles. Historically Kiyomizu-yaki exclusively referred to pottery made on the road leading up to the ancient Kiyomizu Temple – now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Typical Kyoto wares are decorated with colourful hand-painted motifs using overglaze enamel pigments: a technique that appeared in the 17th century and is still a hallmark of Kyo-yaki today. From 794 to 1603 Kyoto was the imperial capital, attracting the most skilled artisans across the country. Even after the seat of government moved to Edo, present day Tokyo, Kyoto continued to be the cultural and spiritual centre of Japan.
Hand wash with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge – avoiding excessive rubbing. Use a mild washing-up liquid as necessary. After draining, pat dry with a towel or leave to dry naturally. Do not put in dishwasher, dryer or microwave as this may damage the glaze.