Viewing page 135 of 199

This factory is in the eastern part of the city, in the neighborhood of the famous cloisonné works and some of the famous old temples. No. 67 of this series took you into a room where a potter was at work with his wheel, shaping a vase of soft clay. Now a number of just such vases and jars are being baked in the intense heat of ovens inside these kilns. Each oven is now sealed up tightly with a mask of clay, and these men stay here to keep up the fire (here is wood stacked conveniently at hand) and make sure that the temperature is maintained at the desired degree. 

On those racks overhead you see similar ware waiting for the next process it has to go through. Some pieces are simply glazed and refired, coming out a beautiful cream-color of buff, their transparent glaze all a mass of delicate "crackle"—the fine network of microscopic breaks which gives so beautiful a variation of the body color. 

It is a matter of regret to everybody who has studied the Japanese pottery of a century or two ago that foriegn influence should be so demoralizing in the matter of aesthetics. The shapes designed by Japanese workmen before the days of European and American trade were vastly better than they are now, when the Japanese producer tries to please the poorer taste of western people. 

These men work for less than the wages of errand-boys in American factories, but they can live comfortably,—according to their ideals—on a small fraction of the sum necessary in America. Their food is chiefly rice, tea and fish, their clothing and bedding, cheap cotton stuff. The exceedingly light costume of the elderly man yonder is occasioned partly by the heat of the furnaces, but it is not uncommon in many occupations. 

(For notes on pottery manufacture see Rein's "Industries of Japan," Young's "Ceramic Art," or W. C. Prime's "Pottery and Porcelain.")

From Notes of Travel, No.9, copyright, 1904, by Underwood & Underwood.
 

Workmen watching kilns full of porcelain, Kyoto, Japan. 
Ouvriers surveillant les fours pleins de porcelaine, Kyoto, Japon.
Arbeiter vor Töpferöfen, gefüllt mit Porzellan, Kyoto, Japan.
Obreros vigilndo los hornos llenos de porcelana, Kyoto, Japón.
Arbetare, vaktande torkugn full af poslin, Kioto, Japan. 
Работники при фарфоровыхъ калильныхъ печахъ, Кіото, Японія.
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.