The roots of Arita Porcelain date back to 1616 when San Pei Lee, a Korean potter bought to Japan discovered good quality white porcelain clay in the Arita region, and began production of the first Arita porcelain pottery. With Arita celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2016, the craftsmanship, production, decorating techniques, and unique designs accumulated over time continues to make Arita the leading area for porcelain production in Japan.
From 1650, Arita porcelain was exported through the Dutch West India Company, and became known as Imari, with famous pieces treasured throughout much of Europe. Of the many patrons of Imari, the most famous was Frederick August I of Saxony. He admired the pieces so much, and believed they were of much greater value than gold, that he ordered Johann Friedrich Bottger to produce pieces in Germany. After many trials, Bottger finally succeeded, and he founded Meissen. Arita porcelain pieces of that era are displayed in museums including the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the Louvre.