Ceramic Art and Crafts
Japanese ceramic art dates back to the beginning of the 13th century when Chinese ceramic techniques were first introduced by an artisan named Kato Shirozaemon (1169-1249). Due to widespread popularity of tea ceremony, the ceramic art developed rapidly in the 16th century and has since reached a high level, with a unique style to Japan of subtlety and refinement.
Lacquer ware refers to woodwork glazed in sap from lacquer trees found mainly in East Asia. Though lacquer ware can be found throughout most regions in Japan, the main areas of production are Wajima, Aizu, Echizen, Yamanaka and Kishu. Each region has its own unique characteristics. For example, Wajima Ware are mostly decorative high-quality pieces, while Aizu Ware is marketed towards everyday consumers.
Since the 8th century, technicians from China and Korea introduced their techniques of silk cultivation and woven fabrics. Various types of woven goods developed as regional industries throughout Japan from quality silk products to products for everyday use made of cotton, hemp and other materials.
Ukiyoe wood block prints arose in the 18th century, but were only valued as art from the 20th century. Before then they were seen as popular entertainment. Prominent artists include Hishikawa Moronobu, Suzuki Harunobu and Kitagawa Utamaro for their beautiful portraits, Toshusai Sharaku for his Kabuki actors, and Katsushika Hokusai and Ando Hiroshige for their landscape prints.