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Every Pot Tells a Story


Wood-fired Features :

Deformation and scars may make pots less valuable for ordinary collectors.
However, all natural defective characters make each pot unique and intersting.


hi-omote
Shigaraki


hi-ura
Shigaraki


shizen-yuu
Shigaraki


shizen-yuu
Echizen


shizen-yuu
Tokoname


shizen-yuu
Tanba


shizen-yuu
Bizen


kuttsuki / hittsuki
Tokoname


koge
Iga


hi-iro
Shigaraki


Japanese Terms for Wood-fired Pottery and Historical Periods

Characteristics from Mediæval Wood-firing & Techniques

Historical Eras

             = Wood-fired Effects =
shizenyuu  natural wood ash fused in firing
hi-omote  side of pot directly facing flames
hi-ura  opposite to hi-omote
hi-iro  surface with scarlet speckles
koge  scorched surface in hot ember
biidoro  molten ash settled like green bead - expression from Portuguese vidro
nadare  fused wood ash cascading like avalanche
tamadare  combination of nadare and biidoro
nuke  surface unaffected by flames
tsuchi-aji  tasty looking clay texture


             = Accidental Effects =
yohen  mysterious but preferrable firing results
ishihaze  stone burst on surface
kuttsuki or hittsuki  pot-sherd stuck on in firing
kama-kizu or yama-kizu  minor firing defect
kama-ware or yama-ware  big crack from firing
u-no-fu  dropping (just like bird dropping) from kiln ceiling

             = Technical Features =
uma-no-tsume  wedge shape prop for slant anagama floor
me-ato  wadding mark
kaiyuu or haiyuu  applied wood ash glaze
dobe  slip for pourous body to seal
geta-in  mark from kick-wheel turntable
kamajirushi  incised mark by potter
higakimon  incised hedge pattern
kokumon  incised sign
kokumei  incised writing or product date
kushime  incised combing pattern
ou-in  stamped seal or pattern


             = Esthetics & Rarity =
kase  patina or often wear and tear
kin-tsugi  restoration with raw lacquer and pure gold powder
kasugai-tsugi  restoration with metal staple - Chinese idea
umiagari  artifact found from old shipwreck
kairagi  glaze shivering around foot ring
hotaru  pin-hole on glaze

Jomon
Yayoi
Kofun (Tumulus)
Asuka (552-710)
Nara (710-794)

Heian
794~1185
Kamkura
1185~1333
Nanboku-cho
1333~1392
Muromachi
1392~1573

Momoyama (1573~1615)
Edo (1615~1868)
Meiji (1868-1912)
Taisho
Showa
Heisei


geta-in
Shigaraki


kuttsuki / hittsuki
Shigaraki


kamajirushi
Echizen


nuke
Bizen


kase
Shigaraki


biidoro and higakimon
Shigaraki


koku-mon and ishihaze
Shigaraki


Tell-tale Signs :

Incidents happened in wood-firing are often written on pots.
Some are considered to be rather charming and additional beauties.


yohen
Tokoname


biidoro and me-ato
Shigaraki


kuttsuki and yama-ware
Tokoname


The Beauty of Wood-fired Pots :
    There are many more technical terms used to describe the features of Japanese pottery.
    Many words are intended to explain certain details.  Some words are specific to different regions.  Some words were applied for the tea ceremony.  And very often art dealers use the terms to make their selling items sound more valuable and appealing to their customers.
    We can (and should) appreciate beauty of wood-fired pottery and would admire ancient craftmanship without knowing any technical terms.

    In the mediæval times, wood was only the best fuel available to potters for their 'anagama' kilns and most vessels were made to be used everyday in every region.



Click Bizen tokkuri

for restoring broken pottery


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