Bizen ware is a pottery located on the extension of the Sue pottery of the Kofun period. Since then, it has continued to prosper in Okayama Prefecture from the Kamakura period to the Edo period. It is a pottery with a history of more than 1000 years. From the Meiji era to the early Showa era, porcelain became popular, and Bizen ware continued to be a difficult time. After that, excellent potters revived and became popular again with high economic growth. Nowadays, it is widely recognized worldwide, and enthusiasts are all over the world.
It is fired for about 10 days using Akamatsu (Red Pine) as fuel without using glaze. There are mainly two types of clay used, one dug from rice fields and the other dug from mountains. (Rice field clay has low refractory, and is characterized by its moistness and fine texture. Mountain clay has high fire resistance, and when it is fired strongly, you can feel the deep color and strength.)The fired clay changes to various shades. It is important where the work is placed in the kiln. And because it is not covered with glaze, you can feel the texture directly and you can enjoy more beautiful colors by wetting the work with water. These are the most important points that make Bizen ware attractive.
Main highlights after firing,
Goma / The ash of pine wood is attached to the work during firing, and it looks like sprinkled with sesame seeds. Most of the works are placed on shelves that are covered with a lot of ash, and the state in which the ash that has fallen is melted by heat and flows is called “Tamadare” or “Nagaregoma”.
Yohen / The change that occurs when the work placed on the kiln floor is buried in charcoal and is reduced and fired, and becomes gray or blue.
Hidasuki / Originally, it was fired with rice straw sandwiched between them to prevent the works from sticking together. The component of rice straw and the iron content of clay cause a scientific reaction, and a scarlet line appears.
The view of nature and aesthetics brought about by Zen thought became the basis of Japanese art, and “Wabi-Sabi” was established in the tea ceremony. Since then, Bizen ware has been favored in that aesthetic sense.
Earth, As the word “Earthen” implies, earthenware is exactly what human beings first made using fire. Bizen ware, which is located on the extension line, has a scenery that seems to exist on the earth. We Japanese have a production called “Mitate”. Things like mountains, rocks, cliffs, things like the setting sun and the moon, we can feel such a view in our hearts, in our garden, in our room. In Japanese culture, many “Mitate” are expressed everywhere. Karesansui, Bonsai, Wagashi…..
Nature as a god, we Japanese worship nature. I think observing nature is more important than any textbook. It also teaches us various things in modeling. Old masters often observed nature. We can easily find out about many things on the Internet, but we should not neglect to observe nature with our own eyes. And it is hoped that a great work will be created by fusing the sense of art hidden within oneself. We would like to keep that attitude and convey the charm of ceramic art.
Bizen Gallery Aoyama hopes that you will enjoy the unpretentious world of Bizen pottery in your daily life.
Let’s find about the kiln with the help of two potters(Takushi Takahara &Yoshiteru Takariki). Panorama of the kiln This is Mr. Takahara’s “Noborigama”. Now, the fire is burning. At the back, there’s a lot of firewood. This is the very firstburning of the new year . “Omiki” (sake offered to theshrine) seemes to be enshrined.
Now, before putting the fire in, let’s look at how the works are placed inside the kiln. They are placed without any waste of space. According to where the works are put, the current of flame changes, and that can cause a disaster. Large pottery are usually near the top, and some works are rolled at the ground.The white part is Mr. Takahara’s secret. The keyword here is”Korogashi” (rolling). This is how “Youhen” is created; the relish of Bizenpottery.
Now, what’s it like inside the kiln? 600 degrees. It is very rare to see the kiln actually being burnt. This is about the medium temperature. It is said that “Bizen is a creation only by clay and flame”, and this is the power of the flame. The firewood burns and eventually turn to ashes, that makes a unique pattern.
900 degrees.This temperature can almost melt this digital camera. You can tell the heat is spread inside the kiln.
Before looking at 1200 degrees, we will check what it’s like right before taking out the works from the kiln.You can see many “Goma works”Depending on where the works are placed, this much difference can be seen in the patterns. Here is “Goma” place! After this, all the works will be polished, and with flower vases they will be checkd for it won’t leak.
One way to enjoy Bizen is to guess where the work was placed inside the kiln, and from which direction it was fired. So, it is very difficult to control the patterns of Bizen pottery, and very little “Youhen” can be created in one fireing. However, this is what makes this art so interesting.
What a lot of firewood! One set of firewood consists of five woods. (10cm in diameter, 1m in length for one firewood). In 10 days, they uses 1000 sets! By putting in 100 firewood.
Planet Pottery You can see image pictures of various Bizen next.
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