Specimens of the latter are still preserved in European collections, where they are classed as genuine examples of Japanese ceramic art, though beyond question their style of decoration was greatly influenced by Dutch interference.
So, too, the blue-and-white porcelain of Hirado, though assisted by exceptional tenderness of sous-pdte color, by milk-white glaze, by great beauty of decorative design, and often by an admirable use of the modelling or graving tool, represents a ceramic achievement palpably below the soft paste kai-pien-yao of King-te-chen.
Pictorial art of a purely indigenous character, whether on ceramic material or plaster, made great strides, and from ceramic forms we may legitimately infer also a high skill in metallurgy.
The fresco-paintings, ceramic motives, reliefs, free sculpture and toreutic handiwork of Crete have supplied the clearest proof of it, confirming the impression already created by the goldsmiths' and painters' work of the Greek mainland (Mycenae, Vaphio, Tiryns).
In the various ceramic arts Italy was once unrivalled, but the ancient tradition for a long time lost its primeval impulse.
The Aegean remains have become astonishingly uniform over the whole area; the local ceramic developments have almost ceased and been replaced by ware of one general type both of fabric and decoration.
In the I3th century, however, the introduction 01 tea from China, together with vessels for infusing and serving it revealed to the Japanese a new conception of ceramic possibilities for the potters of the Middle Kingdom had then (Sung dynasty) fully entered the road which was destined to carry them ultimately to a high pinnacle of their craft.
In its early days the ceramic industry of this province owed something to the assistance of Korean experts who settled there after the expedition of 1592.
It is therefore an error to assert that KiOto has no longer a title to be called a great ceramic centre.
The Japanese, although they obtained from their neighbor almost everything of value she had to give them, did not know this wonderful ware, and their ignorance is in itself sufficient to prove their ceramic inferiority.