Japanese artist Obata refines Aitayaki porcelain art

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The beautiful craft of creating Japanese porcelain designs — “Aritayaki” — is rooted in a 400-year-old tradition, and is a sight in itself. From turning the potter’s wheel to kiln-firing and finally decorating the piece with intricate art, Aritayaki requires a dexterity that few possess.

Adept at the process, Japanese artist Yuji Obata has presented his works to the Japanese Emperor is keen on skilling Indian people in the craft.

Obata believes in the deep friendship between India and Japan and has come to New Delhi with an exhibition of his works so that the Aritayaki may provide a glimpses of the heart of Japan to his Indian friends.

A combination of fresh ideas and historicity, Obata finds inspiration from the Sakura tree, which he says, is “a universe in itself”.

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His porcelain art is said to poetically express the transience of the Sakura tree from the moment of glorious blossoms to the time when the leaves scatter with the wind. Covered in a refreshing pink, the Sakura tree is a popular motif in Japanese art and especially features in Obata’s work.

The self-taught artist has created a shade of pink after the Sakura flower named as the “Obata pink”, and paints his favourite theme — cherry blossoms — with it and other pigments.

His works have now grown beyond the Sakura to include other faces of nature, and his unique designs represent the tumultuous relationship of human emotion and nature’s beauty.

Aritayaki ceramics come from the city of Arita in Saga Prefecture in south Japan. Exquisite designs, emanating from Japanese culture, are painted onto white porcelain, and are highly in demand in the international market.

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Reeking of opulence, these ceramic pieces were widely exported to the European market in the 17th and 18th century.

While the process of Aritayaki production has been mechanised to a great extent, few artists like Yuki Obata still manually produce the ware and paint it, signalling a new future for the ancient art.

As for his future plans, he said he aims to establish an Aritayaki academy in India in coming times to teach young Indian artists this unique art so that Aritayaki finds a new home in India.

— IANS

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