Mino ware is a kind of ceramic ware produced in the cities of Toki, Tajimi, Mizunami, and Kani in Gifu Prefecture. It has a long history going back to the Heian period (794-1185). At the time, the pottery was fired with an ash glaze called "kaiyu", with many kilns being established in Mino province (the southern part of present-day Gifu). In later centuries, innovations were made to the ash glaze, and the rise in the popularity of the tea ceremony led to the production of many brilliant pieces of Mino ware.
From the Edo period (1603-1868), Mino potters started making everyday household containers. Near the end of the period, production of porcelain also began. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), new techniques such as stenciling and copper plate transfer printing were introduced, and production volumes greatly increased, leading to Mino ware being distributed all over Japan.
Today, Mino ware accounts for over 50% of all pottery and porcelain produced in Japan. There are 15 different types of Mino ware which have been designated as Traditional Crafts of Japan, some of the most prominent being Oribe, Kizeto, and Setoguro.
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