chapter  4
21 Pages

Modernizing ceramic form and decoration

Kyoto potters and the Teiten
WithGisela Jahn

Around the turn of the twentieth century, many Japanese ceramists dramatically changed the style of their work in response to a widely circulating critique: Japanese ceramics were antiquated. At the 1895 Fourth National Industrial Exposition, judges excoriated Kyoto ceramic entries as old-fashioned in surface designs and poor in technique. The decline of export production during the waning years of Japonisme necessitated a change to the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce’s previously successful policy of “industrial promotion”. In response, the Imperial Household and Education Ministries began to emphasize the “advancement of art”. From the inception of the Bunten/Teiten, craftsmen worked intently towards the establishment of a division for art craft, reflecting significant changes in the world of fine art and craft. Several factors contributed to this effort. A number of vases displayed at the 1927 Teiten show the influence of contemporary metalwork, considered the leading medium in modern design at the time.