Fuchin scroll weights – Aochibu style Kutani-yaki porcelain

A traditional Japanese room often has a hanging scroll (kakemono) displayed in the alcove (tokonoma).  Fuchin, small tasseled weights, are sometimes hung  from the bottom roller ends of the scroll. Besides being decorative, fuchin help to take out any creases in the scroll and prevent it from blowing around in a breeze.  They are typically made of ceramic or stone such as onyx.  They are quite lovely and I often come across them at the markets.

Ceramic fuchin scroll weights

Kutani ceramic fuchin
Onyx fuchin

One of my favorites is a classic blue and gold Aochibu style Kutan-yaki  porcelain pair with red and gold tops and gold tassels.

Kutani-yaki  Aochibu style  fuchin

The unique Aochibu style of Kutani-yaki  dates  from the Taisho Era (1912-1926).  The term Aochibu is a combination of two words, ao meaning blue and chibu  meaning dots. First, blue glazes are applied generously on natural porcelain colored surfaces, and later small dots are created by using a small metal tool. The result is a unique bumpy texture to the surface. The technique requires much time, patience and very fine skill as the uniformity of size, color, and spacing of the dots must be exact, and the patterns can be very intricate.  Hand painted gold karakusa arabesque patterns, a good luck charm for prosperity, are also typical of Aochibu style.

Karakusa arabesque pattern

Ishikawa ken, on the Japan sea coast, is home to the Ishikawa Kutani-yaki Ceramics Art Museum and the Kutani-yaki Kiln Remains Exhibition. They tell the long history of Kutaniyaki Ceramics and are a must see in the Kaga and Mt. Hakusan Region.  Yet another place to add to my bucket list before I leave Japan!


City.nomi.ishikawa.jp.e.bg.hp.transer.com, (2015). Kutani chinaware ceramic art village offering all of Nomi-shi Kutani ceramic. [online] Available at: http://www.city.nomi.ishikawa.jp.e.bg.hp.transer.com/kikaku/kutanitougeimura.html [Accessed 19 Jan. 2015].

Durston, D. (2001). Japanese crafts. Tokyo, Kodansha International.

Kutani.co.jp, (2015). About Kutani–History, Styles, Production Process–Kutani Nagomi Gallery. [online] Available at: http://www.kutani.co.jp/english/kutani350/about_kutani.php [Accessed 19 Jan. 2015].

Seton, A. (2004). Collecting Japanese antiques. Boston, Mass.: Tuttle.


Please visit my Etsy store to purchase vintage and antique Japanese treasures.

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'Styled in Japan': an online shop that specializes in fashionable anti-UV parasols; an Etsy shop that features a unique collection of retro, vintage and antique Japanese treasures sourced from temple and flea markets in the Kansai area.

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