In this article, I’m going to introduce you to some of the many stoneware, one of the materials used in tea ware.
What is Stoneware?
The raw material of stoneware is stone, which is formed by mixing clay with powder made by crushing rocks.
Stoneware is located between pottery and porcelain. It is strong and water resistant and is sometimes called “semi-porcelain”.
Compared to ceramics, stoneware is not very familiar, but it is one of the famous ceramics in Japan.
Stoneware contains a lot of iron, which reacts with tannin, the astringency component of the tea, to mellow the taste of the tea.
The small holes on the surface of stoneware adsorb the extra components of tea leaves, making it a delicious tea with a clean taste.
For this reason, it has long been favored by tea masters who believe that tea served in stoneware would taste better.
Let me introduce you to famous Japanese stoneware.
Tokoname ware is a pottery made in Tokoname City and its surrounding area facing Ise Bay on the west coast of Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture, and is one of the “Six Ancient Kilns in Japan”.
Tokoname ware is a vermilion pottery. The vermilion color of Tokoname ware comes from the use of vermilion clay, which contains a lot of iron oxide.
There was a time when it was called “Akamono (red ceramic)” because of its color.
The “teapot” is synonymous with Tokoname ware. Tokoname teapot boasts the largest market share in Japan and is designated as an Intangible Cultural Property of Japan.
It has been said that tea brewed with Tokoname teapot is delicious since the old days.
In addition to the stoneware features, Tokoname teapot combines a pot with a tea strainer, which uses a delicate ceramic strainer instead of a metal one prevents metallic taste from being mixed in with the original taste of tea.
If you are a tea lover, this is a must-have item.
Echizen ware is a pottery made in and around Echizen Town in the western Reihoku area of Fukui Prefecture, and is one of the Six Ancient Kilns in Japan along with Bizen ware, Tokoname ware, Seto ware, Tanba ware and Shigaraki ware.
Echizen ware has a history of 850 years, and more than 200 kiln sites have been discovered to date.
It has long been used by the common people as a simple daily necessity.
Echizen ware is characterized by its durability.
Echizen ware contains a lot of iron in the raw material, so it has excellent heat resistance. By baking it at a high temperature all at once, we can make a strong pottery that is hard to break.
Because of its durability, it has been used in pots, motors, crocks, and storage pots.
Shigaraki ware is a pottery made in and around Shigaraki Town, Shiga Prefecture, and is one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan like Echizen ware.
It has a long history, and the origin of Shigaraki ware is said to be the roof tiles fired by Emperor Shomu when he built the capital, Shigaraki Palace in the Nara period (710-794).
Although the image of Shigaraki ware is often associated with raccoon dog figurines, it is also famous for its tea ware.
The shape and color of Shigaraki ware changes depending on the temperature and the condition of the clay, so it has been loved by tea masters since old days as there are no two of the same in the world.