By now you should’ve heard the news that your favourite London Japanese food hall, Japan Centre, will be moving to Panton Street. Of course, that begs the question, “what will happen to the Shaftesbury Avenue location?”
We’re excited to announce that our Shaftesbury Avenue location will reopen as a ceramic store 13 September 2017. It will be your number one destination for all types of ceramic products, some of which include: tableware, sakeware, bowls and other decorative wares. We aim to show the wide variety of Japanese ceramics available, as well as the different levels of craftsmanship and styles. Our store assistants will provide you with all the knowledge you need and exceptional customer service to ensure you find the best products for you.
History of Japanese ceramics
Like most things in Japan, ceramics have a long and rich history, with the first wares being produced almost 12 000 years ago as earthenware in the Neolithic Period. Ceramics have been created since the Jomon period (10 000 – 300 BCE), making Japanese ceramics some of the oldest in the world. Their importance is highlighted in certain cultural aspects, like tea ceremony.
More than 50 towns in Japan are now renowned as ‘pottery towns’ due to the sheer amount of products they produce as well as their levels of expertise. Some of these towns include Kyoto, Hagi, Tokoname and Shigaraki.
Types of wares
It is believed that hundreds of different styles and types of ceramics have been produced over time since the Neolithic Period. Some of these have received special recognition from the Japanese government, and as such enjoy a high level of prestige and appreciation.
Some of these include:
A high-grade of Japanese porcelain introduced in the 17th century, this type was the first choice for wares to be exported as gifts or tributes to other countries around the world.
One of the most common types of Japanese wares mainly used to create daily use items like tea cups, sake vessels and flower pots. Originated in the 19th century.
Karatsu ware is the most common type of pottery produced in Japan and is believed to have been introduced in the 16th century. You may see a lot of vases and decorative wares created this way.
Burned in the kiln at a relatively low temperature, it is fragile and warms the contents of the bowl really quickly. This is why you will find a lot of small bowls made this way.
Importance of ceramics
As ceramics are deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and have become an essential part of everyday life, we hope to impart this knowledge and foster a deep love and appreciation of Japanese ceramics in our customers. We also believe that one of the best and easiest ways to integrate Japanese culture into your daily life is through ceramics. They are non-intrusive and can blend in with most household wares, sometimes they can be the missing piece needed to bring together a fabulous household or office interior.
The process of collecting and tracking down unique ceramic pieces can be an exciting and enriching hobby. The Japanese believe that it’s important to surround yourself with beautiful but meaningful artefacts. This is surely the case with ceramics. The Japanese also practice the art of kintsugi or “golden joinery.” This is the ancient art of repairing wares or pottery with dusted lacquer mixed with silver, platinum or gold. The philosophy is, one must treat breakage and repair as part of the object’s history rather than something to disguise or be ashamed of.
Let us know in the comments below, which ceramic wares you’re looking forward to seeing once our Shaftesbury Avenue store reopens.