A Passion for pottery

I so love Japanese pottery and lacquer ware; my kitchen cupboards are full of the stuff. Last week I went to the Tableware Festival, a very comprehensive display of Japanese and European tableware to see and buy, along with a table arrangement competition and a few art pieces. The place was packed with young and middle aged Japanese women scouring booths filled with plates, bowls, chopsticks, and any and everything to be put on a table. Last year when I went I was the only westerner I saw in the place.
There are four main styles of Japanese pottery (that I could determine).
The rustic, hand made look. Usually in natural colors, beiges, browns, greys. Generally earthenware clay is used, but sometimes stoneware. This is my favorite.
Lacquer ware, which comes in black or red/rust, and occasionally brown. It is made of bamboo and the lacquer is painted on; it is buffed, repainted and buffed again until the required effect is reached. The red color of Japanese lacquerware was the inspiration for the colors I chose for this site.
The modern, clean lined variety made from porcelain usually in clean white or very light blue.
White glaze with blue designs painted on, sometimes painted in red/rust, sometimes with green, yellow, or gold accents. This is the most prevalent type, but I get the impression most of it is mass-produced versus hand made.
Sometimes the designs include varies swirls or other abstract graphics, sometimes there are Buddhas or babies, but the most frequently occurring element are bunnies. I have yet to figure this out. I know that cute things are important in Japan, but why bunnies? Why not doggies or kitties or fishies?

3 thoughts on “A Passion for pottery

  1. An answer for your question about rabbits. There’s an old Buddhist tale where the rabbit sacrifices himself as food for the starving Buddha and as his reward is put onto the face of the moon. Shadows on the surface of the moon look somewhat like a rabbit and this motif is common to Asian art. See this article on the subject:
    A clue to the answer is found within the paintings and fables of artists and storytellers of the Far East. These artists often painted the moon with rabbits racing across its face. The Chinese, in particular, have represented the moon as a rabbit pounding rice in a mortar.
    The rabbit’s association with the moon is partly explained by two stories. In one Buddha places him there as payment for a favor in which Rabbit voluntarily gave himself as food for one of Buddha’s hungry friends. In another, a rabbit, with nothing else to offer a hungry, weary Indra, jumps into a fire, cooking himself for the deity (a timeless example of humankind’s self-serving fables). Out of gratitude, Indra placed the rabbit in the moon.
    Like many Buddhist tales this one has roots even further back to Hinduism.
    On top of that, rabbits are cute, and also considered wise and diplomatic creatures, two traits the Japanese admire.

  2. Telephoneman, thank you for solving the bunny riddle for me!
    Shogun, what??? The only definition of camel toe I know will most certainly not make it on to this site.

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