From Stoke to Seto: The adoption of British ceramic manufacturing techniques and styles in twentieth century Japan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

Abstract

Seto is known as one of Japan’s six ancient kiln sites and pottery has been produced there since at least the Muromachi Period (c.1336-1573). From the early twentieth century, manufacturers in Seto began to diversify into the production of bisque dolls for the export market. This accelerated rapidly after World War II, when the city reinvented itself as a centre of ceramic novelty production, exporting a vast range and volume of trinkets, figurines and tableware to the United States and Europe. Often these products imitated those of prominent European makers including Wedgwood and Meissen, and Japanese manufacturers are known to have visited pottery centres like Stoke on Trent for inspiration.

While there is evidence that transfer-printed British ceramics from Staffordshire and Sunderland were exported to Japan, via Nagasaki, during the Edo period (1603-1868), it is unclear how much technological influence these small volumes exerted. However, the rapid post-war industrialisation of production in Seto meant that European and American manufacturing processes, including slipcasting, transfer printing and flower-making, were steadily adopted and assimilated by producers. Ironically, while vestiges of the novelty industry remain, Seto now faces similar economic challenges to those experienced by the original European centres of production, including Staffordshire.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2019
EventOne Thousand Years of Ceramic Innovation, Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, Museum of London - Museum of London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Oct 20195 Oct 2019
http://www.spma.org.uk/events/ceramic-innovation/

Conference

ConferenceOne Thousand Years of Ceramic Innovation, Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, Museum of London
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period5/10/195/10/19
Internet address

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