Bizen Pottery is produced in Bizen City, Okayama Prefecture, and is the oldest of the six oldest kilns in Japan. It is an ultimately simple pottery that uses no glaze and no painting.
Hiyose, a precious clay obtained in Bizen, is characterized by its high iron content, high tenacity, and low refractoriness, and the quality and composition of the clay is well reflected in the fired appearance.
Because the firing process takes about two weeks at a high temperature of over 1,200 degrees Celsius, the clay is stronger than other pottery, and patterns are created by ash and charcoal during the firing process. The surface of the pottery has fine bumps and bubbles, and it is said to make sake mellow and tasty.
Bizen ware reflects the Japanese artistic sensibility that emphasizes inner beauty and subtlety.
Bizen ware has several names for its patterns.
* GOMA (sesame)- A pattern created by the ashes of pine splints blown over the kiln during firing and glazed by the high heat.
* SANGIRI- A pattern produced when a piece is covered with the ashes of burned-out pine splints, preventing the circulation of air and resulting in smoky firing.
* HIDASUKI- A pattern that is created by wrapping straw around a piece when stacking it in a kiln to prevent it from sticking to itself. The contrast between the light brown and scarlet colors is elegant and popular.
* BOTAMOCHI (peony rice cakes) - Uneven firinsg caused by placing rounded pieces of clay or small pieces of artwork on top of the piece during the firing process, resulting in the corresponding areas turning white. The name was derived from the shape of the piece, which resembles a peony rice cake.