Up for sale is this "Japanese pottery tea pot in Bizen ware by Kakumi Seiho #3843" If you have any questions please contact us before buy it. No reserve.
- width: approx. 8.6cm (3 25/64in)
- height: approx. 8.5cm (3 11/32in)
- weight: 211g (gross 346g)
Bizen ware is Japan's oldest pottery-making technique, introduced during the Heian period (794-1192). It is a type of pottery identifiable by its iron-like hardness, reddish brown color, absence of glaze, and markings resulting from its wood-burning kiln firing. The surface of Bizen ware is entirely dependent on yohen (discoloration of the ceramic by the kiln). Characteristic features include Hidasuki, a red and brown fire-cord decoration created by rice straw wrapped around pieces, and Enokihada, a hackberry glaze spotting produces by pine ash.
Bizen Ware Clay
I sometimes go to ceramics manufacturers to learn about ceramics. While most pottery you see is used for tea, a lot of Bizen ware is used for sake and boiled food. While this is occasionally difficult for somebody like myself who does not drink, it speaks of how Bizen ware goes well with Japanese alcohol and cooking.
The material used to make Bizen ware comes from a layer of clay called "hiyose" found in the vicinity of Imbe. It can only be collected in a few specific areas, and back in the Momoyama period most of the clay was collected from rice fields.
Dirt in rice fields is insulated from the air, and it is a breeding ground for organic matter, turning it into a viscous clay.
Rice fields are kept topped off with water from the spring planting until the fall harvest, and the dirt in these fields undergoes a continual, natural separation process, resulting in a viscous clay. In addition, when the fields are harvested the water is drained, and the sun shines upon the ground. This causes the water preferring microbes and water adverse microbes to reciprocally multiply, leading to the formation of good soil, which becomes exceptionally viscous clay that is good for pottery.
Due to this process, a single spoonful of the clay contains over one hundred million microbes, and putting the clay in storage to rest allows 80 varieties of yeast to grow.
A majority of these are antibiotics known as penicillin, and longtime Bizen ware potters often say, "If you get injured rub some clay on it."
Hiyose is very viscous and has a low resistance to fire, and compared to other types of pottery clay it contains a lot of iron. Because Bizen ware does not use glaze, potters are extremely sensitive to the composition of the clay. Ensuring a high quality clay is of top importance to the artist.
A piece of Bizen ware created from carefully processed clay, even if it does not appear spectacular when first purchased, after years of continued use will transform into a fine piece that hardly resembles the original.
The charm of Bizen ware
1. It doesn't break even when thrown
Bizen ware is fired without glazing at a temperature of over 1200 degrees for approximately two weeks, giving it a higher level of strength than other pottery. That is why, along with Arita ware, it has long been known as pottery which "Doesn't break even when thrown...."
2. Cold beer, warm tea
As Bizen ware has an elaborate internal structure, it has a high specific heat capacity. Because of this, it has strong heat-retention properties, and is difficult to heat and to cool.
3. Delicious beer with delicate foam
As Bizen ware has minute irregularities and high foaming abilities, and the foam is delicate and long-lasting, it retains the flavor, allowing it to be enjoyed even more.
4. If you leave it for a long time, it improves the flavor of sake
Bizen ware contains minute interior pores, which cause a certain extent of subtle permeability. Due to this, the aroma of sake, whiskey, and wine increases and mellows, promoting a rich flavor transformation.
5. It delivers delicious dishes
Bizen ware has more small irregularities on the surface compared with other pottery, so food doesn't stick to the dishes and is easy to remove, and it has weak moisture evaporation properties, which prevents food drying out.
6. Fowers in vases last longer
Bizen ware has minute pores and a certain extent of permeability, so it maintains the condition of fresh water for a long time, making flowers last longer.
7. It takes on a smooth texture with use
By breaking Bizen ware in, the edges of the fine irregularities on the surface are gradually removed, and its quiet charm increases the more it is used.
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