What is Bizen ware?
Bizen ware is a form of pottery that has been produced around the city of Bizen in Okayama Prefecture. Bizen ware is one of Japan's six ancient kilns. It is without a doubt that Bizen ware is one of the most outstanding Japanese kilns, with its traditions that have survived to this day, along with Shigaraki, Tamba, Echizen, Seto and Tokoname. Bizen ware is made in a unique way as it doesn't have a glaze on it, making it a unique type of pottery. Traditionally, baked pottery is given lustre and water-resistance by applying glaze to the surface, but since Bizen ware does not use glaze, the lack of shimmer creates a simple, rustic appearance.
It is worth noting, however, that since this is not a step involved in producing Bizen ware, each piece remains different and unique, which is another characteristic of Bizen ware. Hiyose clay, collected around Bizen, is more difficult to spread enamel on than other types of clay, which is why glaze was not added. Even without enamel, Bizen clay has been successful in producing durable porcelain. Artists have considered different methods of adapting to this clay's qualities, like baking it inside a kiln clay. As an example, they have developed Bizen ware to what it is today without touching it at all.
History of Bizen Ware.
In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the concept of Bizen ware as a form of porcelain made using the techniques developed for Sue pottery, a blue-grey pottery introduced from Korea during the Kofun period (between 250 and 538 AD). This is the generally accepted theory, that Bizen ware was created for daily use during the Heian period (794-1185), starting with the production of everyday bowls and roof tiles. As early as the Kamakura period (1185–1333), reddish-brown was considered to be a characteristic colour of Bizen ware, and in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), these pieces began to be made with hiyose clay as well.
Woodblock print representing Bizen ware by artist Yashima Gakutei (Japanese, 1786?–1868)
The Bizen Province
In the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1600), Bizen ware was also said to have been favoured by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who ruled most of Japan at that time, as well as by Sen no Rikyu, who is considered a master of the tea ceremony. During tea ceremonies, Bizen ware has always been a favourite among many people since its simple design was able to reflect the wabi-sabi aesthetic found in the ceremony. Despite the passing of time, the spirit of Bizen ware remains.
You can now enjoy sipping your favourite sake from the following bizen ware items available on our site!
The Sorakami Team