Kutani porcelain ware, which has its origins in Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan, is a craft with a history of nearly four centuries. In recent years, we’ve seen makers of the traditional ware produce more modern and pop looking items in efforts to broaden their appeal to the public, with some beautiful results.
Now, we have another example of Kutani ware with a modern twist and it comes from a someway unexpected source — toy maker Bandai. Yes, in a brilliant case of pop culture meeting traditional craft, Bandai will be coming out with a line of Gundam Kutani ware!
The result of a collaboration between the popular anime Mobile Suit Gundam, which first aired 36 years ago, and Kutani porcelain, which was established roughly 360 years ago, the special line of Gundam-themed ware depicts memorable characters and scenes from the anime.
Kutani ware typically involves illustrations painted in a dark paint known as gosu in Japanese, made from a mineral aggregate mainly containing cobalt, which is then colored with thick coats of red, yellow, green, purple, and navy blue paints. Traditionally, natural images such as mountains, flowers, and birds are drawn and decorated with bold colors.
There are four types of products available in the line which are sure to tempt any Gundam fan.
▼ Here are the hashioki, or chopstick rests, in five brilliant designs. Each is done in a different style of Kutani and priced at 3,780 yen (US$31). The colors are eye-poppingly brilliant!
▼ There’s also a set of small-sized plates in the same five designs at 6,480 yen ($54).
▼ Rice bowls are available in two designs, selling at 5,616 yen ($47) for the pair.
▼ And for your tea or coffee, they have these mugs in the same two designs, also priced at 5,616 yen ($47) a pair.
▼ And if you want the entire collection, you can get the complete set with all the items for 21,492 yen ($178)!
The Gundam Kutani ware items are available for pre-order at the Premium Bandai online shop until November 13 and scheduled for shipment in February next year. They unfortunately don’t ship to locations outside of Japan, but we do….very very careful… You’ll also be able to purchase them at Gundam Cafe shops starting November 14 as well.
While perhaps unconventional, these items certainly look like a perfect combination of intricate Kutani craftsmanship and the powerful world of Gundam. We’re sure they’ll appeal to fans of modern art as well as Gundam fans with their successful and beautiful fusion of tradition and modern culture!
Source, images: Premium Bandai online shop