Earthenware pot production area Iga, Mie Prefecture
What is Igayaki?
Iga ware is produced mainly in Iga City, Mie Prefecture. It is said that it began about 1,200 years ago when farmers used to burn agricultural seed pots and miscellaneous household utensils. During the Muromachi period, when the culture of tea ceremony was established, many tea pottery (Old Iga) were fired, and the style of the time embodying the natural beauty of ``Wabi'' and ``Jaku'' was influenced by Sen no Rikyu and other tea masters. I was in the spotlight. Due to Oda Nobunaga's Tensho Iga Rebellion, it was reduced to scorched earth and its survival was at risk for a time, but in the Momoyama period, when wabi-cha became popular, tea pottery was revived under the guidance of Sadatsugu Tsutsui, the feudal lord of Iga Province, and Oribe Furuta, a samurai tea master. I will be revived. After experiencing many ups and downs throughout its history, from the Edo period onwards, it evolved into the current Iga ware, centered around folk utensils such as earthenware pots, Yukihira, and clay pots that take advantage of the characteristics of Iga soil.
The charm of Iga ware “Nanado ware”
Photo by Igayaki Promotion Cooperative Association
Old Iga tea pottery, which was a major turning point in Iga ware, is also known as ``Nanado ware'' and was made by repeatedly firing it at high temperatures. During firing, the ash from the firewood that falls on the surface of the pottery melts and turns into a green glassy substance called ``natural glaze,'' creating an unimaginable scenery. In addition, the black charring and cracks naturally occur, and the once-in-a-lifetime finish and rugged, powerful style are in keeping with the aesthetic sense of wabicha, and it was praised by tea masters as ``beautiful in its unconventional style'' and was prized even among the feudal lords. At that time, many tea pots, tea vases, flower vases, and jugs were produced that incorporated the spirit and consideration of the tea ceremony. Around this time, the phrase ``Iga has ears, Shigaraki has no ears'' was coined in comparison to ``Shigaraki ware,'' which was originally indistinguishable from Iga ware because the production areas were located close to each other across mountains. Ta. After that, the number of pieces with pairs of ears in Iga ware increased.
Lake Old Biwa is suitable for making earthenware pots.
The pottery clay around Iga is mined from the Old Biwako layer, which was created when Kobiwako, the predecessor of Lake Biwa, existed for about 4 million years. This soil contains many remains of living creatures and plants, and the higher the temperature, the more the organic matter burns out and foams, creating many pores in the soil. Iga ware, which uses porous soil with high far-infrared rays and heat storage properties, also known as "breathing soil," warms ingredients to the core and retains heat even after they are removed from the fire, making them a staple in the daily lives of Japanese people. It has been useful in daily life. Utilizing the technology of making heat-resistant tableware such as earthenware pots and the characteristics of Iga ware, which has excellent fire resistance, products that are suitable for modern life are still being produced.
Blessings from the rich mountains
The area around Iga is rich in red pine forests, perfect for firewood, and is rich in high-quality pottery clay and resources, which are important for pottery production, which also contributed to the development of Iga ware. Iga ware, which has inherited traditional techniques through tea pottery Iga (Old Iga) and modern Iga ware (also called reborn Iga), has continued to create products that are in keeping with the times, and was recognized as a national traditional craft in 1982. is specified. The pair of ears, which were introduced as a characteristic of Iga ware during the tea pottery era, can also be seen in modern earthenware pots, and the mysterious shape has a decorative identity that goes beyond the practical meaning of ``a place to hold in the hand''. Sometimes I get caught. Another characteristic of Iga ware is that instead of painting, you can draw wavy lines with a spatula tool, or create distortions and dents on purpose, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the form.
Iga ware, which has undergone many changes over its long history, is now a traditional craft that can be felt as everyday goods. If you are interested, please check out the work while enjoying the view of the handle of the clay pot, the shape of the vessel, and the natural glaze.