Glossary of terms

AKAE - a red pigment used often in KUTANI YAKI.
AO-CHIBU (AO TSUBU) - a pattern of raised blue dots often found in KUTANI YAKI.
AOHIBI - a blue crackled glaze characteristic of SOMAYAKI.
ARITA YAKI - porcelain produced in the Arita region of Kyushu, Southern Japan. It is usually considered synonymous with  IMARI YAKI as ARITA YAKI wares were shipped from the nearby port of IMARI in the past.
BIZEN YAKI(Bizen Ware) - Bizen ware is well-known as one of the 6 ancient kilns in Japan with over a thousand years of history. In the 13th century it prospered greatly due to the popularity of the tea-ceremony. From its beginning, Bizen potters created pots in one distinct style, i.e., trademark non-glazed wares, which are truely unique and cannot found in other pottery-producing areas in Japan. Another chracteristic of Bizen ware is that there are said to be over 400 potters producing in the area - therefore, there is always a kiln in operation. (See also HIDASUKI)

CHASEN - a bamboo tea whisk used in the tea ceremony.
CHASHAKU - a bamboo tea scoop used in the tea ceremony.

DOBIN - is the name originally given to pots made of heat-resistant material used as kettles for boiling water and also to brew medicinal herbs. Nowadays the name refers to pots of a similar design to the original. These are made of porcelain or clay and used in the same way as normal teapots.
DONABE - is the name given to the special cooking pot used to make Japanese hotpot.

[E] EIRAKU - a type of KUTANI YAKI produced from 1865 onwards.Wares feature red underglaze overlaid with gold.

- Fukugawa Seiji company, a porcelain manufacturing company established by Fukagawa Chuji in1894 in Arita, Southern Japan.

- a pattern of pale pink spots often seen on HAGI ware. It is achieved by a natural ferric reaction in the kiln.
GYOKURO - high quality, shade cultivated tea, known for its full-bodied yet mellow flavor and sweet aroma.

HAGI YAKI - pottery produced in Yamaguchi prefecture, Southern Japan, with a history of over 400 years. It is simple and rustic in taste and popular with tea ceremony practitioners.
HASHIRIGOMA - the name given to the galloping horse motif, characteristic of SOMAYAKI.
HIDASUKI - one of the patterns of Bizen ware. Pots are put into the kilns wrapped in straw etc. Due to the high temperature, the straw burns, leaving scorch marks on the pots. These scorch marks appear as reddish streaks on the finished pots, and characterise the HIDASUKI design.
HOUJOUMON -traditional treasure motifs found on Japanese pottery

ICCHIN - pronounced "itch-in", a ceramic decoration technique. Soft clay is put in a bag and squeezed through a nozzle to produce designs with thin raised lines. Also known in English as tubelining or slip trailing. IIDAYA - a type of KUTANI YAKI produced from 1835 onwards. Characterised by the prevalent use of red and depictions of plant and human life.  IMARI YAKI - port name where porcelain produced in the IMARI & ARITA regions in Kyushu were shipped out. To be
precise it now refers to porcelain produced in Okawachi in Imari-city,southern Japan.  (See also ARITA YAKI).
ITOME - the name given to a pattern of horizontal grooves, found on TOKONAME teapots
IRO - NABESHIMA - a kind of ARITA YAKI ( along with KO-IMARI and KAKIEMON), IRO-NABESHIMA was once reserved for the sole use of the noble class.

KAKIEMON - a kind of ARITA YAKI ( along with KO-IMARI and IRO-NABESHIMA).
KAKIOTOSHI - decoration achieved by scratching or engraving the slip glaze. Also known as SGRAFFITO.
KANAZAWA - a city in Ishikawa prefecture, famous for KUTANI YAKI and gold-leaf crafts.

KI- SETO(Kizeto) - a term covering a broad area. As it's name implies (ki=yellow, seto=porcelain), Kizeto ware has a subtle earthy yellow tinge, sometimes accented with tints of green. KIYOMIZU - pottery produced in Kyoto. Also known as KYO YAKI. KOHIKI(Kobiki) - A technique used in the production of HAGI ware. A white slip is applied to the clay before firing. A thicker translucent glaze is then applied, resulting in a smooth clean finish. KO-IMARI - porcelain produced in the classic IMARI style. KOKUDEI - the name used to describe dark colored shudei. The dark color is acheived by one of the following means. Shudei items are fired with rice husks etc., leaving a layer of carbon on the surface, resulting in darker looking pieces.
Alternatively,when shudei pieces are fired in a de-oxidised kiln, the ferric oxide content of the clay reacts, causing the suface to turn a
darker color. The dark coating is sometimes scraped away, leaving traces of the original shudei showing through for a decorative effect.
KOKUDEI can only be acheived through a firing process and should not be confused with cheaper "black" clays where pigment is directly added to the clay before firing.
KO-KUTANI - items of KUTANI-YAKI produced between 1655 and 1720. Dynamic brush stokes together with prevalent use of yellow, green and purple glazes characterise these wares. KUTANI-YAKI - pottery produced in the area in and around the city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture, western Japan. Types of KUTANI -YAKI can be divided into various categories depending on dates of production and  master craftsmen. (see also  EIRAKU, IIDAYA, KO-KUTANI, MOKUBEI, SHOZA, YOSHIDAYA ).
KYUSU - the name for a Japanese teapot, of which there are two main types, YOKODE ( teapots with the handle on the side), and USHIRODE ( teapots with the handle at the back).

- pottery center established at the end of the Edo period in Tochigi prefecture. It became internationally famous as the center of the Japanese Folk Art Movement headed by popular potter Hamada Shoji in the mid 1930's.
MATCHA - powdered green tea used in the tea ceremony.
MOGAKE - a technique obtained by applying seaweed to the unglazed pot before firing, resulting in a fine, web-like pattern.
MORIAGE - a raised pattern created with thick pigment, often seen on NORITAKE pieces.
MOKUBEI - a type of KUTANI YAKI produced from 1806 onwards. The craftsman Aoki Mokubei used 5 colours to draw human characters on a  base of red.

NAGAYUNOMI - tall cylindrical teacups normally used for oneself or family members for serving tea after a meal.
NAMBU TEKKI - the Japanese term for Nambu cast-iron ware.
NERIKOMI - a marbled effect achieved by folding different colored clays together. Characteristic of TOKONAME ware.
NORITAKE - An internationally famous brand of western-style porcelain and tableware in Japan.

OKINAWA - the southernmost prefecture in Japan, home to TSUBOYA pottery.
ONI HAGI - A kind of HAGI ware characterised by its gnarled appearance. Thick smooth white glaze is applied to rough clay, leaving exposed patches. The finished effect is very dramatic and enables one to enjoy the contrast between two different textures. ORIBE YAKI -produced in the prolific pottery producing areas around Seto,Aichi prefecture and Tajimi, Gifu prefecture. Easily recognisable by its distinctive green glaze, Oribe yaki has four main types; E-Oribe (patterns done with iron underglaze), Kuro-Oribe (an almost black, dark green glaze), Ao-oribe ( light green glaze) and Aka-Oribe (incised patterns covered with various glazes).
RYUKYU - old name for present day OKINAWA .

[S] SANSUI - name given to a traditional theme found in Japanese porcelain. SAN refers to mountains and SUI to water, usually represented by a stream, river or the sea. It is also referrred to as "sacred mountains". SATSUMA YAKI - pottery produced in Kagoshima Prefecture in the south of Japan A heavy Korean influence is evident, characterised by overglaze patterns on cream-coloured crackle glaze.
SENCHA - the quintessential everyday green tea.
SHIBORIDASHI - a shallow teapot, suitable for brewing GYOKURO tea.
SHISA - guardian dog figures, unique to OKINAWA prefecture.
SHINO YAKI - produced in Seto, Aichi prefecture and Tajimi, Gifu prefecture, Shino yaki is known for its milky white glaze. It is said to be the first ware to decorate its pieces with brush-drawn designs. SHIZUOKA - a prefecture to the south of Tokyo, famous for producing green tea.
SHOZA - type of KUTANI-YAKI produced from 1845 onwards by the craftsman Kutani Shoza. Wares are finely drawn depictions of every day scenes using techniques typical of the period ( AO-TSUBU etc.). SHOCHIKUBAI - the name given to a traditional theme found in Japanese pottery. SHO means pine, CHIKU means bamboo, BAI means plum. Taken together, the three combine to form a symbol of good luck.
SHUDEI - a brick colored clay rich in ferric oxide, used in the production of
Tokoname ware etc.
SOMAYAKI - (also referred to as Soma ware and Soma pottery), is produced in Fukushima, Northern Japan and is characterised by a horse motif ( HASHIRIGOMA) and an unique blue cracked glaze (AOHIBI) as well as pieces with a double walled construction.
SOMETSUKE - porcelain decorated with "gosu" (blue) underglaze degins. Typical of ARITA YAKI and IMARI YAKI but also found elsewhere.

TANBA YAKI - One of the six ancient kilns of Japan.Tanbayaki which has been produced in the village of Tachikui, Hyogo pref. for over 800 years. It is similar to Bizen in that it has a simple, rustic charm. The natural ash glaze has a greenish tinge which gives it a refined feel. TOBIKANNA - the name of a special tool, made of iron or bamboo which is used to create incisions in the clay surface of a pot.
TOKONAME YAKI (Tokoname Ware) - is well known as one of the six ancient kilns, and Tokoname is said to be the largest and oldest. Tokoname is also famous for their teapots, made from clay rich in ferric oxide. This reacts with tea tanin, removing traces of bitterness and giving the tea a mellow taste.
TSUBOYA - pottery produced in Naha, OKINAWA prefecture.

USHIRODE - a kind of teapot with the handle at the back.

- the Japanese term for all types of pottery. YAKISHIME - refers to unglazed pottery fired at a high temperature
- a kind of teapot with the handle at the side.
YOSHIDAYA - A type of KUTANI YAKI produced between 1823 and 1833 under the patronage of a wealthy merchant named Yoshida, responsible for the commercial revival of the Kutani kilns after a 100 year hiatus. Traditional themes are depicted using the three colours typical of KO-KUTANI wares, namely yellow green and purple.
YUZAMASHI - a water pitcher used for cooling water, especially used whrn brewing GYOKURO or other teas brewed at a low temperature.

NOTE: The terms found in this glossary are by no means extensive. Should you have any questions about the subject matter or require explanations of other ceramic-related jargon, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do our best to be of assistance.

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