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Discover 15 Types Of Japanese Pottery That You Should Know

Discover 15 Types Of Japanese Pottery That You Should Know

Japanese ceramics are famous worldwide for their uniqueness and beauty. Despite their beautiful appearance, the pots were typically made of kaolinite-based clay and porcelain, which provided high hardness and density. In this article, Kiichin will walk you through 15 types of Japanese pottery that showcase the rich cultural heritage and the identification of this exquisite craftsmanship. 

1. Arita ware

Arita is one of the most popular types of Japanese pottery that emerged in the 16th century and became known globally for their high quality. It is deeply inspired by the white and blue ceramic designs produced in Jingdezhen, China. In the early days, Arita pottery had a white background with blue motifs painted on it. The Japanese people greatly admire it because of the pure, gentle white appearance that porcelain owns.

The Arita ware porcelain designs emerged in the 16th century

The Arita ware porcelain designs emerged in the 16th century

Shop now: Arita Ware Sake Set - 1 Bottle 2 Cups, Takumi No Kura Dahlia Pottery

2. Bizen ware

Bizen ware has the same unpolished texture as most Shigaraki ware and is extremely durable using slow firing. Using dry straw as fuel leaves subtle, delicate marks on the ceramic surface. Look for natural, organic debris that disrupts the ceramic's perfect surface. This Japanese pottery style illustrates wabi-sabi, a philosophy that flaws and imperfections give unique beauty to every object, person, creature, or place.

Bizen ware is unglazed, making it look quite rustic and raw

Bizen ware is unglazed, making it look quite rustic and raw

3. Seto ware

Seto pottery is one of the most ancient types of Japanese pottery that appeared about 1,000 years ago, even older than Arita pottery. It is part of 6 ancient kilns available in Japan. While most areas still produced unglazed objects, Seto potters began the process of glazing to create stronger earthenware. The clay from Seto is a perfect canvas for creating vibrant glazes because it turns bright white during the firing process.

The clay from Seto is a perfect canvas for creating vibrant glazes

The clay from Seto is a perfect canvas for creating vibrant glazes 

4. Kutani ware

Since 1979, Kutani village has been recognized as a cultural and historical landmark in honor of the porcelain kilns it owns. In the 17th century, Kutani porcelain was known for its blue, green, and yellow glazes (some even suspect Van Gogh's masterpieces inspired this Japanese pottery style). In recent centuries, artisans have turned toward more detailed decoration using red and yellow enamel.

Kutani porcelain was known for its blue, green, and yellow glazes

Kutani porcelain was known for its blue, green, and yellow glazes

5. Mino ware

If you are looking into different types of Japanese pottery, you will likely come across Mino pottery, which makes up a significant portion of the market. Since the 7th century, Mino artisans have produced various ceramics, from tea bowls and tableware to decorative and ceremonial objects.

Mino ware has many Seto-style branches such as Shino, Oribe, Kiseto, and Setoguro. The dark black Setoguro style is created by removing the iron-enameled pots from the oven while it is still red hot. This causes the temperature to drop suddenly, causing the surface to turn black. 

With the improved slow cooling and firing process, you will notice tiny pinholes starting to appear in the white ceramic. This style is found in early Japanese white ceramics.

You’ll see tiny pinholes starting to appear in the white ceramic in each Mino product

You’ll see tiny pinholes starting to appear in the white ceramic in each Mino product

6. Onta ware

Although Onta pottery does not have a history of hundreds of years like other Japanese ceramic styles, it has a tradition of using river water to power clay crushers that has remained unchanged for the past 300 years. It began to gain popularity in the 1930s after Yanagi Sōetsu, founder of the Folk Art movement, launched a campaign. There are a lot of old techniques, like sliding brushes, used to blend the old with the new aesthetic.

Onta ware began to gain popularity in the 1930s

Onta ware began to gain popularity in the 1930s

7. Tokoname ware

In Japanese pottery style Tokoname, artisans have been creating water bottles, teapots and containers in tunnel kilns for about 900 years. This form of Japanese pottery is traditionally less complex. There are many local deposits of clay with high iron content, which gives pottery its bright red color when fired at high temperatures of 1,100°C. It looks perfect and is the best utensil for making tea.

Tokoname ware is the best utensil for making tea

Tokoname ware is the best utensil for making tea

8. Shigaraki ware

In recent years, Shigaraki has become one of the most famous types of Japanese pottery for producing high-quality hibachis and tanuki sculptures. Tanuki are adorable raccoon dogs originating from Japan. Shigaraki tanuki sculptures often depict them as friendly saki-peddling monks.

In ancient times, the Japanese emperor used tiles made in the Shigaraki style for his personal residence. Nowadays, it is commonly found on water containers, vases and tableware.

Shigaraki is commonly found on water containers, vases and tableware

Shigaraki is commonly found on water containers, vases and tableware

9. Karatsu ware

Karatsu pottery is truly the epitome of Japanese pottery in the Western region. Talented ceramic artists who moved to Japan in the 16th century purchased it from the Korean peninsula. This is why you will find elegant and modest work of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. in Karatsu pottery. The top half of the pot is white and blends into the black bottom. The unique color is achieved by layering white glaze fired with straw to protect the black glaze.

Karatsu pottery is with the top half of the pot is white and blends into the black bottom

 

Karatsu pottery is with the top half of the pot is white and blends into the black bottom

10. Raku ware

Raku is a Japanese hand-cast lead-glazed earthenware. Because raku pottery is molded entirely by hand rather than placed on a wheel, each piece clearly shows the personality of the maker's hand, and the products tend to be unique creations. Glaze colors include dark brown, light orange-red, straw, green, and cream.

The most unusual feature of raku is its technique: instead of heating and tempering the wares in a cold kiln, the glazed wares are placed in a hot kiln for about an hour and then removed and forced to cool quickly at room temperature. gas, creating unique effects throughout the glaze and sometimes in the ceramic itself.

Raku pottery is molded entirely by hand rather than placed on a wheel

Raku pottery is molded entirely by hand rather than placed on a wheel

11. Hasami ware

Among other types of Japanese pottery, Hasami pottery stands out for its designs. Hasami is adjacent to Arita, where similar products are sold under the “Imari” brand. However, in Hasami, the local pottery style is considerably more subdued than in Arita, where both colors and designs are often quite ostentatious. 

Produced as earthenware and later porcelain, Hasami-style ceramics feature jade green glazing. The more affordable price of Hasami ware also makes this form widely popular among the population. Thick porcelain bowls called “kurawanka” were widely used in many Japanese households.

Hasami’s colors and designs are often quite ostentatious
Hasami’s colors and designs are often quite ostentatious

Shop now: Saikai Pottery Hasami Ware 33706 2.8L Tenmoku Pattern Multiserver - Authentic Japanese Pottery

12. Banko ware

Banko is one of the types of Japanese ceramics whose characteristic dense rust color is created from a special mixture of red and yellow earth from a unique firing process.

While the clay is still wet, the craftsman creates the desired decorations, each in its own style. With the meticulously designed Banko porcelain teapot, you will easily see the difference. The round pot with the material and lacquer inside helps the tea leaves circulate much better, creating a passionate, pure aroma.

Banko has a dense rust color created from a unique firing process

Banko has a dense rust color created from a unique firing process

13. Kintsugi

In Japan, there is a traditional repair method called kintsugi, in which broken pieces of ceramic are glued together with Japanese lacquer (urushi), the joints are painted, and decorated with gold or silver powder, and ceramics continue to be used. Currently, efforts are underway to popularize this technique not only in Japan but also abroad.

The joints are painted, and decorated with gold or silver powder

The joints are painted, and decorated with gold or silver powder 

14. Iga ware

Iga pottery is characterized by its burnt appearance and bidoro glaze, achieved by firing the pieces at high temperatures while the wood ash stuck to them becomes a glass-like substance. Although seemingly random, these effects can only be created with extreme precision by talented and experienced craftsmen who work tirelessly to bring the desired look to life.

Because the clay around Iga is highly fire-resistant, it is often used to make heat-resistant pots and tableware, which are always in demand.

Iga pottery is characterized by its burnt appearance and bidoro glaze

Iga pottery is characterized by its burnt appearance and bidoro glaze

15. Shino ware

Shino ware is often coated with a deep white feldspar glaze, sometimes with a little rosette underneath. Under the white glaze, some ceramics have botanical and other naturalistic motifs painted with iron glaze. In addition to white Shino, there are also red Shino, pink Shino, enraged (a combination of many different colors), and gray Shino.

Shino ware is often coated with a deep white feldspar glaze

Shino ware is often coated with a deep white feldspar glaze

Conclusion

Through this article, Kiichin has introduced to you 15 types of Japanese pottery, which offer a captivating glimpse into a rich artistic heritage. Each style, meticulously crafted with unique techniques and materials, embodies a distinct beauty. Remember, in the spirit of Wabi-sabi, imperfections can hold a unique charm, adding to the story of each treasured piece.

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