Japan Society Southern Counties Lecture Thursday 25th September 2014
Japanese Pottery for Food and Drink
Talk by Jill Fanshawe Kato
Japan has one of the oldest pottery traditions in the world. It is thought that 16,000 years ago pottery was being used to cook food such as fish and shellfish.
The combination of ceramics and food from earliest times accounts for the high level of appreciation of handmade pottery, the sophistication of Japanese cuisine and the imaginative, often beautiful presentation.
This talk will trace the influences which have contributed to the unique washoku cuisine, which in 2013 was given Unesco cultural heritage status. In the tea ceremony, which reached its zenith in the 16th century, numerous small ceramic dishes presented on lacquer trays would be used in ceremonies lasting many hours and attended by nobility and rulers of the country.
With over one hundred pottery villages using their unique local clays, regional styles of pottery have flourished over the centuries, in tandem with local delicacies to delight the traveller.
The changing seasons are reflected in both pottery and food, for example, cherry-blossom- inspired dishes in April, or cool porcelain during the hot summer months.
Restaurant chefs often choose the pottery for their restaurants as they will make the food to go in them. Cutting is done in the kitchen rather than at the table and chopsticks allow a variety of pottery to be used. The gourmet chef Kitaoji Rosanjin created his own ceramics for his restaurant and became a very renowned potter.
We will look at pottery for food and drink both traditional and contemporary in Japan and the huge popularity of Japanese food internationally.