The Japanese potters could never vie with the Chinese in the production of glazes: the wonderful monochromes and polychromes of the Middle Kingdom had no peers anywhere.
Nevertheless he persevered, and in 1838 we find him producing not only green and yellow monochromes, but also greyish white and mirror-black glazes of high excellence.
There remains, too, a wide domain in which the Chinese developed high skill, whereas the Japanese can scarcely be said to have entered it at all; namely, the domain of monochromes and polychromes, striking every note of color from the richest to the most delicate; the domain of truit and fiamb glazes, of yO-pien-yao (transmutation ware), and of egg-shell with incised or translucid decoration.
Miyagawa soon began to cast about for a better inspiration, and found it in Adoption of the monochromes and polychromes of the Chinese Chinese Kang-hsi and Yung-cheng kilns.
The KiOto artists process is much easier than that of his rivals, and although his monochromes are often of most pleasing delicacy and fine tone, they do not belong to the same category of technical excellence as the wares they imitate.
He has not succeeded in winning great distinction, but he manufactures some very delicate monochromes, fully deserving to be classed among prominent evidences of the new departure.
Their great aim seems to be the production of the exquisite Chinese monochromes known as u-kwo-tien-tsing (blue of the sky after rain) and yueh-peh (clair-detune).
Notwithstanding subsequent discoveries of stupendous paintings in the gardens of the Villa Farnesina on the banks of the Tiber, the monochromes of Herculaneum remain among the finest specimens of the exquisite taste and consummate skill displayed by the ancient artists.