Imari-yaki, is a general term for porcelain from the Arita region of Saga Prefecture. Imari-yaki does not include the well known Kakiemon and Nabeshima kilns, which are archrivals. Imari porcelain was first potted at Arita Sarayama in the 1610s. In Japanese, Sarayama refers to "the original," or "ancient site" where porcelains or potteries were made. The name Imari comes from the nearby port from which this porcelain was shipped to China, Europe and other areas of Japan. Porcelain was a relatively unknown commodity in seventeenth-century France. Examples of both Chinese and Japanese porcelain could be found in royal and aristocratic collections, but because of their cost, these objects were available only to the highest levels of society. Generally speaking European porcelain production was greatly influenced during the Edo-era (1603-1867) because Imari ware was being imported by the Dutch West India Company. As a result, it is not uncommon to see distinctly Japanese porcelain depicted in distinctly French paintings. With such a history, Imari porcelain is usually displayed as decorative objects rather than used. Today, the original Arita Sarayama area is called Arita-machi. The porcelains produced there is now known as Arita-yaki.
Shoki Imari, Ai Kutani, and Ai Kakiemon
• Shoki Imari (early Imari), around 1610-1650
• Ai (blue) Kutani, around 1630-1680
• Ai (blue) Kakiemon, around 1673-1704
• Kaiemon 1643-
• Ko Imari 1685-1735
• Nabeshima 16th century-1871 (Nabeshima clan) and New Nabeshima (by Imaizumi family)