Traditional Japanese Porcelain Cups Mix Medieval Monks With Skateboards, Horse Masks & More

Skateboarding monks? On my traditional Japanese porcelain cup? It's more likely than you think, if the traditional Japanese porcelain tableware comes from Kutani Choemon, a 130-year-old Japanese pottery maker who looks ahead instead of back for inspiration.

Kutani Choemon is located in northwestern Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture where, in the mid-16th century, traditional Kutani porcelain traces its origins. Varying from simple to complex in both style and coloration, Kutani ware features overglazing techniques influenced by Chinese ink painting.

With that said, one wonders what the originators of Kutani porcelain would think of Kutani Choemon's line of modern content cups. Designed by designed by Kamide Keigo, each cup stands 82mm (3.23") tall and is 70mm (2.75") wide.

The twelve cups in the series each feature a classic Sengoku-era (Warring States period) monk enjoying a different decidedly non-medieval recreational pastime such as skateboarding, rockin' out on a variety of musical instruments including drums and electric guitar, and hefting a massive 1970s boombox stereo on his robe-clad shoulder.

Not bizarre enough for you? Well, how about a skeletonized monk playing a flute or another devotee who's also making like Ian Anderson in heat but this time sports a horse mask. Yes, a horse mask... inspired stuff or what!

Kutani Choemon adds a thirteenth cup to the series though this one is monkless, instead featuring the bold colors and glossy overglaze that made Kutani pottery famous centuries ago. Each cup costs 6,000 yen (about $60) and they can be ordered online at Kutani Choemon's website. (via TokyoMango and Colossal)