This Japanese vintage Karatsu pottery pair of foo dogs was a purchase from Japan. They are about 30 years old. Karatsu yaki is one of the oldest potteries dating back to the 100s, They were originally made in Hizen which is one of the oldest areas where pottery and porcelain was made. Hizen is now the Saga Prefecture. Karatsu is one of Japan's best-loved pottery styles. Like other styles, it derives its name from the city it's located in. During those old day time, the Japanese potters were learning the techniques from the Korean potters. Therefore. the technique of their work resembles that of the Korean potters. Its pottery lies somewhere between rustic and sophisticated. The undisguised display of natural materials -- the clay and its textures, glazes and designs applied rapidly and freely, crackled and pocked glazes, untrimmed foot rims and irregular shapes -- makes Karatsu the warm, loved pottery that it is.
This pair of old Karatsu foo dogs is well made by a skilled Katatsi.potter, It has a natural form and experienced beauty. The body is made in a traditional foo dog style. Its body, head, tail, and feet are formed by hand. As most foo dogs the hair caressing its head, back and tail are formed in many little curls. Its ears stand up, their teeth in a snarl. Its toes are curled up with nails gripping out. It is painted in a medium brown and painted in darker shades of brown in swirls and covered in a gorgeous clear glaze. These are very done in a very traditional manner and beautiful pair of Karatsu foo dogs. These are a true collectors item of Japanese Karatsu pottery. They are in excellent condition with no cracks or chips.
Size: Width 5.3 inches or 13.5 cm, length 3.5 inches or 9 cm, Height 5.0 inches or 12.8 cm. Weight 1200 grams or 2 lbs 10 oz
About Karatsu-yaki 唐津焼き
Karatsu is one of Japan's best-loved pottery styles. Like other styles, it derives its name from the city it's located in. Karatsu, meaning ‘China Port,’ is located in Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. Karatsu pottery traces its roots back to the 15th century, but it is generally agreed that it matured in the latter half of the 16th century. This is due to the influx of Korean potters brought back by Lord Hideyoshi in what is often called the ‘pottery wars.’ Tea was favored among the lords at that time, with a Karatsu chawan being a most desired style, two other cherished styles being Raku and Hagi. The only family dating back to that time still in the Karatsu pottery world is the famous Nakazato family. They have an unbroken lineage of fourteen generations and are one reason of the continued success of the Karatsu style.
Johanna Becker in her fine book on Karatsu writes: ‘Too much skill is evident on Karatsu ware to call it rustic; too much freedom and spontaneity to call it sophisticated. Its style lies somewhere between these poles. The undisguised display of natural materials -- the clay and its textures, glazes and designs applied rapidly and freely, crackled and pocked glazes, untrimmed foot rims and irregular shapes -- makes Karatsu immediately appealing to the senses without demand or pretension.
See Robert Yellin's site eyakimono net for more history and great articles and artists as well as his Karatsu-yaki where the information in paragraph one was obtained.
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