Animals play a big role in many different types of asian antiques. Kutani, a style of Japanese porcelain is famed for it's intricate detailed images, all painted by hand before and during the Meiji period. Many of the images on these items feature creatures such as birds and animals. The pieces are often adorned with gold trim or raised enamel, making them all the more beautiful.
The Japanese were also interested in replicating the animals in porcelain and pottery and therefore the Kutani Cat was born. The cats are small, sparsely decorated but feature all of the hallmarks you would expect from this kind of porcelain. They are highly collectable and sets of 2 or more felines, as with the Kutani Vases, often sell for a good price. It is also said that a black Kutani cat is the most rare.
The artistic designs were purely Japanese bits of nature-painting, tiny landscapes, birds on plum branches, and other simple but striking subjects of this kind. The contrast to the Imari ware, with its bold masses of blossoms and colours, is as great as it is with modern Kutani. The latter often has peacocks, groups of brilliant peonies and chrysanthemums, brightly dressed women and wonderful old men, cocks upon barrels, and other well-known subjects. The only figures on old Kutani are children playing.
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