Have you ever heard of the term Enshu Seven Kilns? If you are a tea drinker or ceramics lover, you might know it. This article introduces “Takatori ware,” one of Enshu Seven Kilns. It is deeply involved with the world of tea.

What is Takatori ware?

Takatori ware is a type of pottery produced around Fukuoka Prefecture’s Toho village, Asakura District and Nishijin, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka City. It has been actively producing tea pottery for many generations. It cannot be missed in the world of tea ceremony.

Features of Takatori ware

Below are the features of Takatori ware.

Takatori ware created the Kirei-sabi style

“Kirei-sabi” is an aesthetic form (concept/style) of tea ceremony that derived from “wabi-cha” of Sen-no-Rikyu. It was first created and established by Takatori ware. While tea ceremony has various expressions to represent beauty, Kirei-sabi means “refined, sophisticated beauty.” Takatori-ware is ceramic, but it is thin and light like porcelain. The fine delicate earthenware glazed with a beautiful color of finely balanced composition is literally a refined and sophisticated piece of beauty.

One of Enshu Seven Kilns

Enshu Seven Kilns refer to the seven kilns that baked Enshu Kobori’s favorite tea utensils. Takatori ware is counted as one of them. The other six are Shitoro ware in Tohtomi, Zeze ware in Omi, Asahi ware in Yamashiro-uji, Akahada ware in Yamato, Kosobe ware in Settsu, and Agano ware in Buzen.

Original glazes

The charm of Takatori ware is its beautiful color tones produced by special glazes such as Takatori glaze. Secret art is hidden in the Glazes of Takatori. However, the book of secret on glazes is handed only to a successor every generation and written in the way only the memory keepers can understand. In the long history, the secret still has never been disclosed.

History of Takatori ware

Takatori ware has a history of 400 years. It was first created during the Azuchi-momoyama period. At that time, a samurai who rendered distinguished services to a battle was rewarded with a masterpiece of tea ceremony not with territory. A family’s social standing and power were even judged by its possession of a single masterpiece tea bowl. In that situation, Nagamasa Kuroda, the first lord of Kuroda Domain ordered a Korean potter named Hachizan to set up a pottery kiln, which led to today’s Takatori ware. Back then, Takatori ware was exclusively to pay tribute to the domain lord.

A pottery boom still continued in the Edo period. In the Edo period, the production of masterpieces was generally prioritized more than daily necessities. Takatori ware thoroughly concentrated its full efforts to make masterpieces, while throwing away all the others by breaking them. As a result, the glazing technique and method that have been passed down to the present days were finalized after trials and errors.

It has been 400 years since then, but Takatori ware is still a producer of unique and unmatched masterpieces today. Takatori ware used to be available only to few authorized people and tea ceremony masters because of its exclusive dedication to tea pottery masterpieces. It never came on a common market, but as times change, it gradually showed up one the market. Today it is used as daily tableware as well. With its wide variety that covers from traditional tea potteries to daily necessities, Takatori ware will keep evolving as tableware beloved by many people.

January 08, 2023