Many of them came to Japan during two invasions of Korea led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 1590s.
An appreciation of Korean ceramics had recently developed in Japan, and many of the feudal lords who accompanied Hideyoshi brought back Korean potters to build up the ceramic industry in their territories (1983.557.2).
They differ significantly from the varieties of Chinese underglaze blue that were exported to the West from the Jingdezhen kiln, which have structured, stylized patterns.
The less formal wares from the southern kilns conformed more to Japanese taste of the time, which was inspired by the tea ceremony and favored a rustic, simple appearance.
The porcelain the Dutch brought to Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was some of the first Japanese art to which Europeans were exposed.
However, these ceramics were not a direct reflection of indigenous styles because they were consciously designed to cater to Western tastes.
Therefore, when in the early seventeenth century the Korean potters living in the Arita district of Hizen found suitable clay for the manufacture of porcelain, the infrastructure for its production was already in place.
The Hizen region thus became the major center of porcelain production in Japan.Models were also used to demonstrate European vessel shapes for the Japanese potters, who would have been unfamiliar with those forms (79.2.176a,b).The Dutch also exposed the Arita potters to Chinese underglaze blue porcelain, which was popular in Europe, so that they could use it as an example in their own work.This type of ceramic is usually simple, inexpensive, and made rapidly but skillfully on the potter’s wheel.The potters also introduced a new type of kiln to Japan, the noborigama, or climbing kiln, which allows for greater precision during firing.From the nearby port of Imari, the Japanese would transport the goods to Nagasaki, where the Dutch or Chinese could pick them up and reship them to their final destination.