There’s still time to enjoy cherry blossoms. Through May 14, the Toguri Museum of Art in Tokyo is exhibiting a stunning new work by Sakaida Kakiemon XV, the current inheritor of one of the most famous names in Japanese porcelain. The very large lidded jar, commissioned by the museum to commemorate its 30th anniversary, is decorated with a cherry-blossom design that is at once bold and delicately refined. Together with the exhibition in which it stands as centerpiece, it beautifully demonstrates the ongoing mastery of the Kakiemon family.
For hundreds of years, since the middle of the 17th century, the celebrated Kakiemon line of potters has produced exquisite porcelain ware decorated in colorful overglaze designs. In their kiln in Arita, in what is now Saga Prefecture, they passed on from one generation to the next the special techniques needed to make what has come to be known as the Kakiemon style. Characterized by asymmetrical but well-balanced designs that make good use of empty space, this prized style of porcelain features a particularly white porcelain base and predominant use of the color red.