SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Ai Fukunaga

BA (ICU) MA (Gakushuin) MA (SOAS)
  • Overview
  • Research


Staff Silhouette
Ms Ai Fukunaga
Email address:
Thesis title:
A Different Type of Tea? British Collecting of Ceramics for Tea Gatherings from Meiji-Era Japan, Focusing on the British Museum and Maidstone Museum Collections
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

The second half of the 19th century is the significant period for the formation of Japanese ceramic collections outside Japan as well as the creation of history of Japanese ceramics as an academic subject worldwide. This research investigates the collection of Augustus Wollaston Franks (1826-1897) in the British Museum and the collection of Hon. Henry Marsham (1845-1908) in the Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery. My research addresses the questions of what meaning and function of Japanese ceramics collection were held for the collectors, how the objects were selected, and who was involved in the process with careful attention to whipped tea (matcha) and steeped tea (sencha) utensils. This dissertation employs three main scopes. Firstly, it addresses the shifting framework of Japanese ceramics in institutional and private collecting between the mid-19th century and the beginning of the 20th century by examining the relationship of the works from Japan and history of art, archaeology and anthropology of the time. Secondly, it analyses the personal networks of the collectors in collecting Japanese objects and knowledge based on the museum archives. Finally, it discusses the representation of tea utensils, which came to be understood as the most important category of Japanese ceramics from the 1870s.


The Network of Collecting Japanese Ceramics Focussing on A.W. Franks.' (明治神宮PhD日本研究奨学生レポート:日本陶磁蒐集のネットワーク―A.W.フランクスを中心に―) Kamizono: Journal of the Meiji Jingu Intercultural Research Institute. (18) 195-199. November 2017.


Ming Porcelains in Renaissance Europe: the Medici Gift to the Elector of Saxony, presented at Othello’s Island 2017, the 5th Annual Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, Nicosia, Cyprus, 6 April, 2017.

China in Japan, steeped tea (sencha) in the 18th and 19th centuries Japan, presented at English Ceramic Circle Study Day, at SOAS, University of London, 26 November 2016.


The Oriental Ceramic Society
Japan Society of Oriental Ceramic Studies
The Japan Art History Society


  • History of East Asian Ceramics
  • History of Collecting