All the products of this new effort are porcelains proper.
The porcelains of Arita were carried to the neighboring town of Imari for sale and shipment.
The history of Kito warewhich, being for the most part faience, belongs to an entirely different category from the Hizen porcelains K -~ spoken of aboveis the history of individual ceramists 10 0.
Taking the Eiraku porcelains of Kioto as models, Hachiroemon employed red grounds with designs traced on them in gold.
But at Owari the experts were content with an inferior color, and their blue-and-white porcelains never enjoyed a distinguished reputation, though occasionally we find a specimen of great merit.
Nowadays, indeed, numerous examples of porcelains decorated in this manner are classed among Owari products.
What then happened was very natural: imitations of the old wares were produced, and having been sufficiently disfigured by staining and other processes calculated to lend an air of rust and age, they were sold to ignorant persons, who labored under the singular yet common hallucination that the points to be looked for in specimens from early kilns were, not technical excellence, decorative tastefulness and richness of color, but dinginess, imperfections and dirt; persons who imagined, in short, that defects which they would condemn at once in new porcelains ought to be regarded as merits in old.
From this judgment must be excepted, however, his ivory-white and cladon wares, as well as his porcelains decorated with blue, or blue and red sous couverte, and with vitrifiable enamels over the glaze.
The porcelains of Owari and Arita naturally received most attention at the hands of the Hyochi-en decorators, but there was scarcely one of the principal wares of Japan upon which they did not try their skill, and if a piece of monochromatic Minton or Svres came in their way, they undertook to improve it by the addition of designs copied from old masters or suggested by modern taste.
Before dismissing the subject of modern TOkyO ceramics, it may be added that KatO TomatarO, mentioned above in connection with the manufacture of special glazes, has also been very successful in producing porcelains decorated with blue sous couverte at his factory in the Koishikawa suburb.
But they also devote much attention to porcelains decorated with blue or red sous couverte.
In explanation of the fact that he did not essay this route in former times, it may be noted, first, that he had only a limited acquaintance with the wares in question; secondly, that Japanese connoisseurs never attached any value to their countrymens imitation of Chinese porcelains so long as the originals were obtainable; thirdly, that the ceramic art of China not having fallen into, its present state of decadence, the idea of competing with it did not occur to outsiders; and fourthly, that Europe and America had not developed their present keen appreciation of Chinese masterpieces.
Such porcelains, however, lack the velvet-like softness and depth of tone so justly prized in the genuine monochrome, where the glaze itself contains the coloring matter, pte and glaze being tired simultaneously at the same high temperature.
The pieces do not quite reach the level of Chinese monochrome porcelains, but their inferiority is not marked.