iro-e 色絵
KEY WORD : art history / crafts
Lit. colored picture.

1 A metalwork term for the soldering of thin sheets of gold, silver or other precious metals onto a ground; also a generic term for such decorative metalwork techniques as inlay and overlay in which other metals are applied to the ground metal.

2 In ceramics iro-e refers to painting motifs or patterns using lead-based red, yellow and green color glazes, uwa-enogu 上絵具, on the surface of glazed and fired earthenwares, porcelains, and firing them again at a lower temperature (around 800 degrees C) so the colored glaze melts onto the underglaze. The technique was developed in China by the 12c for white glazed earthenware, and by the 14c it was used on clear glazed porcelain. In Japan, Sakaida Kakiemon 酒井田柿右衛門 (1596-1666) learned this technique at Arita 有田, Saga prefecture, in about 1640. See *imariyaki 伊万里焼. In the early Edo period the technique was termed aka-e 赤絵 because red was the main color used. It is also called uwa-etsuke 上絵付 and gosai 五彩 (five colors). In the Edo period, it was used for white glaze and fired earthenwares called iro-e touki 色絵陶器 (painted earthenwares). It is still a technique widely practiced in Kyoto ceramics *kyouyaki 京焼.

*kutaniyaki 九谷焼

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