Essays and Articles

Japanese Pottery - Echizen

Monday, June 27, 2016

Originating in Fukui prefecture and thought to have first been made from the end of the Heian era, Echizen pottery is an extremely hard variety of Japanese stoneware fired at high temperatures and is counted as one of the ‘six old kilns’ of Japan.

Echizen ceramics were commonly made using clays in a variety of base tones, ranging from greys and yellowish browns up to darker reddish colours. With a large degree of the final appearance being dependent on the temperature and conditions in which pieces were fired.

Historically known for being both strong and water tight without the need for glazes, large jars and pots for water and grain storage known as ‘tsubo’ were in particularly high demand during the Momoyama and Edo periods. Surviving examples tend to display thick and heavy walls with distinctly broad shoulders and bulging mid sections, sometimes with horizontal or diagonal runs of glazes in yellow or white tones.

Both contemporary and classically styled examples are still made today using techniques that are virtually unchanged from the 16th century and are now as then, held in high regard among tea ceremony practitioners.

 

Echizen Tsubo, Late Edo period

 

 

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