The most distinguished of all Japanese porcelain was made at o-kawachi near Arita for the sole use of the governing Nabeshima clan.
Nabeshima ware broke with the Chinese-inspired tradition, using only Japanese motifs in a bold and striking way.
The designs of Nabeshima ware are often reminiscent of textile patterns of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Most of Nabeshima porcelain made between the Enpou era (1673-1681) and around 1750 have been colored with four colors; red, blue, green, yellow. The designs were adopted from plants or patterns on textiles. The elaborated, striking, and sophisticated expressions found on these wares makes it seem impossible that they were made three hundreds years ago.
Highly refined porcelain principally for table use with underglaze-blue, Celadon and over-glaze enamel decoration produced in Hizen Province (modern Saga Prefecture).
For their own use the Nabeshima daimyo and clan designed and produced their own porcelain throughout the Edo Era (1603-1868). Their standards of perfection demanded the destruction of anything less than perfect. The wares was fired at their private kiln at Okawachi 1675-1871. The finest pieces dates to the late 17th-early 18th centuries.
From close to its inception, the style has been copied by other porcelain producing kilns. By the late 19th century the style was being produced at any number of places where porcelain was fired in Japan, including the Nabeshima kiln itself which by the end of the 19th century opened for commercial production.
Both the Arita town and the Imari city, well know for their porcelain, are located in the Saga prefecture.