skip

I specialized in Japanese fine china.

Kyo (with Kiyomizu)āiāj

Kyo (with Kiyomizu)

Kyo-yaki is the term that, since the 19th century, has become widely used for stoneware and porcelain produced in and around Kyoto. Before this time, the wares were known by the names of the kilns where they originated, such as Awata-, Mizoro-,and Kiyomizu-yaki. Ceramics made in kilns in Kyoto before 1800 are also known as ko-Koizumi, but after 1800, the expression Kiyomizu-yaki refferd exclusively to porcelain produced in the district around the Kiyomizu temple. Today, Kiyomizu-yaki is often wrongly used for Kyo-yaki.
Kyoto, then called Heian-kyo, became the imperial capital in 794 and remained the seat of government for more than 800 years. When the Tokugawa Shogunate moved the capital to Edo(present-day Tokyo) in 1603, Kyoto remained the seat of the imperial dynasty, and the intellectual and religious center of Japan.
The production of ceramics in the Kyoto region has been documented since the end of the fifth century. In the eighth century, lead-glazed Narasansai was being made, and from the ninth to the twelfth century, it was mainly a monochrome green ware. With the increasing influence of the tea ceremony, potters from Seto who had settled in Awata, a district in Kyoto, produced tea utensils.
Present-day Kyo-yaki?with its wide variety ranging from raku to stoneware and porcelain with underglaze and overglaze decolation?developed in the late 16th-17th. Limited local clay deposits prevented from Kyoto any uniform kind of ceramics. Craftspeople made specious raw material that had to be shipped long distances. Furthermore, Kyoto attracted the most able artists and craftspeople from all parts of the country. In the long periods of peace during the Tokugawa Shogunate, the imperial family and the aristocracy sponsored the arts and maintained their own workshop, and also invited famous pottere to Kyoto. Thus, the development of ceramics in Kyoto was determined by a number of outstanding artistic personalities who not only set the trends with regard to styles in Kyoto but also far beyond. Against this background, raku-yaki, with its restrained color, developed under the influence of tea master Sen no Rikyufs wabi aesthetic, while exquisitely colorful Kyo-yaki in stoneware and porcelain emerged in various forms to fulfill the demands of the tea master in the early 17th for more elegance in the tea ceremony(kirei-sabi, beautiful-sabi).
Raku-yaki, which developed from Nara-sansai, is a quickly fired, lead-glazed earthenstone, originally produced exclusively for the tea ceremony and only in the colors red(aka-raku) and black(kuro-raku), but later with amber, white, and more rarely. Oribe green glazes as well. The first aka-raku tea bowls is said to have been created in or around 1579, under instruction from the tea master Sen no Rikyu, by the tile maker Chojiro, who was familiar with the sansai technique. The production of kuro-raku was successfully achieved around 1582. In recognition of his achievement, his successor Jokai was awarded the raku seal(raku, joy) by Toyotomi Hideyoshi; from that time onward, Jokai(Raku A) was entitles to take over the designation as the family name. The Raku family is still producing this special type of tea ceramics with Raku KichizaemonID(born in 1949). Alongside the Raku family, other workshopshave also dedicated themselves to the production of traditional raku ware.
The production technique for raku wares is derivided from setoguro(Mino ware) tea bowls, which Sen no Rikyu held in particularly high esteem and which has hardly changed even today. The clay body used for raku firing must be able to withstand rapid heating and sudden cooling. For aka-raku, Chojiro used a fine, iron-rich clay, and for the higher-fired kuro-raku, a coarser, sandy body. The clay is dug and stored by the Raku family for succeeding generations; thus, the present fifteenth generation is using clay prepared by the twelfth generation. Today, a white stoneware body is used in the main; for kuro-raku, grog may be added.
Pots are usually shaped by hand or more rarely, as in the case of Kawasaki Warakufs tea bowls, on the wheel. The forming process itself then takes place by cutting(hera ato) and pinching. For aka-raku, the unfired pot is coated with an iron-rich ochre slip, then covered with a transparent lead raku glaze. Several coats of Kamogawaishi glaze( made from iron-and manganese-rich stones from the bed of the Kamo river that flows through Kyoto) are applied to kuro-raku before the pot receives a transparent lead raku glaze. The firing of aka-raku objects to 1562F-1832F(850-1,000) takes about 25 minutes after they are placed in a saggar in the small raku klin. As soon as the glaze has matured, the pot is drawn from the klin while it is still red hot and cools in the air. For black raku, the klin is equipped with bellows because temperatures of 2192F-2282F(1200-1250) must be reached within a short period of time. The glaze matures within only 8 to 10 minutes. Since the body has not vitrified after this brief firing period, kuro-raku can be termed ghigh-fired earthenware.h
When people began to turn to the kirei-sabi aesthetic in the early seventeenth century, a more elaborate tea ceremony became highly valued. In accordance with the taste of the aristocracy, this appreciation was ceremony became highly valued. In accordance with the taste of the aristocracy, this appreciation was propagated by the tea masters, Kobori Enshu, and to a greater extent, Kanamori Sowa(1584-1656) with his tea style, the gtea of the palacesh. With colorfully decorated stoneware and later, porcelain in unusual forms, a new stage in the development of ceramics began and continued into the nineteenth century. Nonomura Ninsei is inextricably linked with this development. Nonomura Seiemon(ca.1627-1695) named himself Nonomura after his birthplace in Tanba. In 1647, after training as a potter in Seto, he built his kiln in Omuro, Kyoto, immediately adjacent to Ninna-ji, a temple; he was permitted to incorporate nin, the first character of the templefs name, in his own artistfs pseudonym. Ninsei is held to be the father of Kyo-yaki because he was the first potter in Japan to introduce overglaze enamel painting on stoneware( iro-e), which is still characteristic of Kyo-yaki. Ninsei was an excellent craftsman, and his vessels, such as tea storage jars( chatsubo), tea bowls, and incense boxes( kogo) in figural forms were made with exquisite skill. The rich colors of his objects are never intrusive in their typical blue, green, red, brown red, ochre, and gold an a calm background of silver gray, black, or creamy white that he developed himself. The composition of the decoration, in which he uses flowers or other ornaments, including maki-e lacquer work or kimono fabrics for his designs, always appears balanced. Ninsei is said to have founded no fewer than nine kilns in Kyoto, including the Mozorogama in Awata, with its refined iro-e decoration in blue, green, and gold on a creamy white crackled background. After the establishment of additional kilns, Kyoto became one of the leading ceramics centers of the Edo period, after he Hizen domain and the Seto-Mino region.
While Ninsei worked for his aristocratic clients, cooperating closely with the tea master Kanamori Sowa, his pupil Ogata kenzan(born Ogata Shinsei;1663-1743) worked for many years as a freelance potter?a studio potter in todayfs terms. Kenzan was erudite, but as a potter he was self-taught. His vessels forms( more side dishes and plates than tea ceramics) were simple and were used as supports for the decoration?often a combination of painting and calligraphy(an individual artistic genre in Japan) that was applied to a white slip background. On some of his works, his brother, the great Rimpa painter Ogata Korin(1658-1716), took over the painting wile Kenzan was responsible for the calligraphy. Thus, the well-known square platters have a combination of calligraphy and painting in iron oxide underglaze( sabi-e) on a coationg of white slip. Covering it all is a kind of transparent luster glaze. Other pieces combine sabi-e and sometsuke(cobalt underglaze painting) with overglaze enamels( iro-e). Ninsai had given Kenzan his secret glaze recipes(to ho densho), which the latter develioed further. Ninsei and Kenzan were the first potters to sign their work. Until that time, a stamp from the individual klin had been customary.
In addition to iro-e stoneware in Ninsei and Kenzan style, Kuchu-Shigaraki-a yakishime stone- ware made of clay mixed with sand in Shigaraki style-was made in the Awata kilns in the 17th. Along with blue ?and white porcelain in the 18th and 19th, there wares were also made by the famous Kyoto potters, Kiyomizu Rokubei-B, and may still be found in Kyoto today.
At the end of the 18th, enthusiasm for the study of China resulted in Chinese wares being held in particularly high esteem, as they had been before the heyday of wabi tea ceramics. Because of Japanfs seclusion, the demand had to be covered by domestic ceramics production. The first ceramist to decorate himself to the reproduction of Chinese porcelain was Okuda Eisan( born Okuda Yotaku; 1753-1811). He is said to have introduced the production of porcelain to Kyoto between 1781 and 1789. the newly constructed porcelain kilns, which appeared in rapid succession, were concentrated in the Kiyomizu Gojo-zaka district, immediately adjacent to the Kiyomizu temple. Much of Eisenfs work, especially more refined domestic items in underglaze blue(sometsuke), alne or with overglaze decolation in green or red(gosu aka-e), were reproductions of Chinese ceramics of the late Ming(1368-1644), and early Qing(1644-1912) dynasties. Of Eisenfs many pupils, the best known are Aoki Mokubei and Ninfami Dohachi A. Together with Eiraku Hozen, they are known as the gThree Famous Pottersh of Kyoto from the 19th.
Aoki Mokubei( born Aoki Sahei;1767-1833), potter, poet, painter, and tea master, was very versatile in style and technique. Blue-and White porcelain(sometsuke), white porcelain(hakuji), porcelain with overglaze enamels(iro-e) and in red and gold( akaji-kinran-de), celadons, Kochi ware, stoneware with gohon-de glaze, and even small, unglazed(nanban style) teapots(Kyusu) were parts of his repertoire. He also painted figures in five colors on a red background, in the Chinese style?a decorative technique that he often used in his attempt to revive Kutani-yaki at the Kasuhayama-gama in Kanazawa(1807-1808). Mokubei studied the Chinese models closely but used them as stimuli for his own individual creations.
Ninfami Dohachi A(born Takahashi Mitsutoki;1783-1855) worked in Awata until he set up a kiln in Fushimi, near Kyoto, in 1842. Dohachi specialized in tea ceramics and was famous for his recreations of other style in stoneware and porcelain?his efforts to revive the Ninsei and Kenzan styles. Besides his decorated raku tea bowls, his unkin-de bowls are impressive, with the irregular, undulating rims integrated into the decoration of white cherry blossoms(sakura) and red maple leaves(momiji).
Nishimura Hozen( 1795-1854) called himself Eiraku Hozen after Lord Tokugawa Naritsune had awarded him the eiraku seal(eiraku, eternal joy). Like the two other great master of the 19th, Hozen was familiar with all porcelain and stoneware techniques. For the most part, he produced tea ceramics: blue-and white porcelain in the style of the Shonzui ware from the Chinese Jingdezhen kilns in the Ming dynasty; blue-andwhite ware with overglaze decoration(gosu aka-e); celadons; stoneware with gohon-de glaze; and Kochiware. However, Hozenfs specialty was his akaji-kinran-de, with gold decoration on an iron red glaze as an imitation of lacquer work.
In spite of the Three Famous Potters, the development of ceramics in Kyoto stagnated during the 19th. The introduction of technical innovations and the export boom in the later part of the century encouraged bulk production and led to a decline in quality. The small studios, with their careful art-and craft-based production, were forced out of the market. In the Meiji period, ceramics were among Kyotofs biggest export items, along with tea and raw silk. For instance, more than 1000 people were employed at the Kinkozan Sobei F factory in Awata to make clay from Kyusyu into Shiro-Satsuma. In the 1920s, there was a return to the values of Kyo-yaki, fostered by the Japanese state. Because of this development, four ceramist from the Kyoto region were designated Ningen Kokuho(Living National Treasures). In 1955, the title was awarded to Ishiguro Muneharu(1893-1968) for his Tenmoku glazes and to Tomimoto Kenkichi(1886-1963) for iro-e-jiki(porcelain with overglaze painting); in 1977, Kenkichifs student Kondo Yuzo(1902-1985) was honored for sometsuke porcelain, as was Shimizu Uichi(1926-2004) in 1985 for his work with tetsu-yu(iron glaze).
The more than 200 workshops in Kyoto today are largely traditional in their production of high quality ceramics: more than 90 percent is hand-made, including objects randing from domestic wares and tea ceramics, to incense boxes and burners and Ikebana vessels. The production methods are as diverse as the highly varied styles of ceramics, but they are generally conventional. Tried and tested forms and decorations from the past 400 years are cultivated and developed, so that in present-day Kyoto, raku-yaki can be found alongside classic Kiyomizu porcelain with cobalt underglaze painting in Shonzui style or with overglaze enamel decoration, and sansai ware that is frequently interpreted in a contemporary manner. Many tea bowls and Sen-cha tea sets are covered with the gohon-de glaze alone, typical of Kyoto, or, as in the tea bowl of yamamoto Yuji( born 1n1945), with the glaze and the typical unkin-de decoration of the Dohachi bowls. In contrast to this, the contemporary designs of Takiguchi Kazuo seem light in comparison; the cherry blossoms on his tea bowl appear to float. Takiguchi (born in 1953), whose individually made pieces with their black surfaces form a stark contrast to his tableware lines; is considered one of the most renowned studio potters influenced by the Sodeisha movement.
References to Kochi ware, with its cloisonne-style surface treatment, are now only found on smaller objects, which is also true of figural representations such as mandarin ducks?symbols of bond of marriage?a design often chosen by Ninsei and the later master for incense boxes(kogo). Also typical of contemporary Kyo-yaki is a pale blue, heavily crazed celadon glaze on tea bowls and Sake bowls in Tenmoku form. A master of Tenmoku glaze is Kamada Koji(born in 1948), with his Yohen-Tenmoku(harefs fur tenmoku) and the rare blue Yuteki-Tenmoku(oil-spot tenmoku). The traditional Mishima and Hakeme decorations are present is the work of the great Kyoto master, but they also exert a fascination on the young generation, as the Hakeme vessels of Yamamoto Tetsuya(born in 1969) demonstrates.
Among Kyotofs studio potters, there is a pronounced tendency toward individualism. The postwar avent-garde joined artistsf associations such as Sodeisha, but todayfs young artschool graduates tend to seek their individual artistic path free of any trends or movements.

About me

Kanetsugu Ishizawa
Japan

I introduce you to what a wonderful pottery and porcelain world.