Shigaraki (yaki) -is one of "Six ancient kilns (Rokkoyo) " of Japan.
Six ancient kilns are the pottery areas that are acknowledged as the birthplaces of important design traditions during the medieval period. The areas are Echizen, Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tanba and Bizen. These six places were recognized as Japan Heritage in April 2017. They are regarded as Japan's cultural and historical assets.
In Shigaraki, wood-fired stoneware by anagama(hole type kiln) was produced since the Heian period at the end of the 12th century.
Kyoto and Nara
Shigaraki is situated in the south of Shiga prefecture, near the border of Mie prefecture. Shigaraki belongs to Koka city which is famous of Ninja village.
Shigaraki is also neighboring to Kyoto and Nara, which are the core places of Tea ceremony. Because of its location, Shigaraki was valued by masters of the Tea ceremony and culture influencers, since the Muromachi-Momoyama era.
The clay of Shigaraki is from strata originating in the old Biwa lake (the biggest lake of Japan) and was formed around 4 million years ago.
The Shigaraki clay is famous of it' quality. As silica stones and feldspar are characteristics of this clay, it creates unique rough texture. This clay determines the feature of Shigaraki and its unglazed earthenware
The reddish color comes from iron in the clay, together with the natural glazing by ash which is caused by fire. The black color comes from burnt ash, produced during the firing in the anagama (cave kilns) or the noborigama (kiln built on a slope).
The unique feature of this firing effect creates the Shigaraki pottery's rough and warm texture.
Reddish hiiro flashing, deep green natural ash biidoro, or burnt black koge are also
main character of Shigaraki wares.
Wabi-sabi and Tea
Shigaraki is one of the most important tea ceremony wares in tea ceremony history . It was loved by Sen no Rikyu, the greatest Tea master, and other distinctive Tea masters as " Tea ceremony pottery, Shigaraki".
Sen no Rikyu established the style of Wabi-sabi., the imperfect and humble beauty.
Shigaraki passes down this Wabi-sabi beauty from that time to the present.