What are the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan?
"Japan's Six Ancient Kilns" is a general term for six kilns: Echizen, Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tamba, and Bizen, which are said to be representative of ceramic kilns that have continued from the Middle Ages to the present. It was named by Mr. Fujio and was certified as a "Japan Heritage" in 2017. Each kiln was influenced by the climate, soil, and economic environment of the region, and each kiln matured into unique, historic ceramics.
Source: Traveling, Thousand Years, Six Ancient Kilns
Echizen ware from Echizen Town, Fukui Prefecture is the only one of the six ancient kilns that faces the Sea of Japan, and is characterized by its simple style and red clay with high fire resistance.Because of its cold resistance, it has been known as Echizen Red Tile since Echizen. It is widely distributed along the northern Japan Sea coast.
Seto ware in Seto City, Aichi Prefecture is known as the ceramic capital of Japan, and has been producing pottery since before the Heian period. In particular, it produced "Koseto", the only glazed pottery among the six ancient kilns, and porcelain production began in the late Edo period, establishing it as one of Japan's leading ceramic production areas.
Tokoname ware is a kiln located in Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture, where large pots and jars were produced using a method called yakishime, which did not use glaze, and were transported all over Japan by sea. In addition, from the late Edo period, vermilion tea utensils modeled after Chinese teapots were produced, and are still a representative product.
Shigaraki ware from Koka City, Shiga Prefecture is a type of fired pottery that is characterized by the variety of scenery created by firing. In this area, large jars and pots are produced, and everyday items are also fired. During the Azuchi and Momoyama periods, a variety of products were produced, including tea pottery, clay pots, braziers, and construction materials.
Tamba Sasayama ware
Tamba ware from Tamba Sasayama City, Hyogo Prefecture is praised for its beautiful accidental decorations made with natural glaze. Since the early Edo period, climbing kilns, ash, iron glazes, and potter's wheel molding have been used, and the production of pottery closely related to daily life has continued.
Demand for Bizen ware from Bizen City, Okayama Prefecture, such as sturdy mortars, arose in the latter half of the Middle Ages, and during the Oriho period, the rustic yakishime texture was favored by tea masters. The various kiln variations resulting from not using glaze are still creating enthusiasts today.
It can be seen that each kiln has changed and evolved along with the local nature, history, and technological evolution. Its diversity and richness demonstrate the depth of Japan's ceramic culture.