Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品Traditional Crafts of Tokyo 東京の伝統工芸品

Akazu Yaki

Akazu Yaki Photo

The origins of this ware date back to an earthenware called sueki that was made about 700, during the Nara period (710-794), although the traditional skills, techniques and nomenclature of Akazu Yaki that are still in use today were established during the early years of the Edo period (1600-1868). It was the period slightly prior to this that saw the establishment of glazing techniques that are still in use, namely shino, oribe, kizeto, and ofuke. In all, seven main glazes are in use. In addition to this some 12 different techniques are employed, including herahori in which a modeling tool is used to make a pattern on a formed piece. Then for inka, motifs are created using a stamp after forming in a mold. Using a bamboo or metal skewer, parallel lines, wavy lines, spirals, or a pattern of dots are made on the clay while the surface is still soft for kushime. For mishimade using a technique coming from Korea, a pattern of chrysanthemums is created in a white slip wash on a dark grey ground. Making full use of these techniques, tetsu-e decorations, which have been in use since the Momoyama period (1573-1600), are added in iron. Today, items associated with the tea ceremony and for ikebana are among the main pieces made along with various kinds of dishes to be used at top quality Japanese restaurants and in the home. All are highly praised by specialists as hand made articles of the very best quality.