Shigaraki ware is said to have originated during the Nara period (710-794), when Emperor Shomu had roof tiles fired for the construction of the Shigaraki Palace. Through the influence of Tokoname ware in the late Kamakura period (1185-1333), urns, seed pots, and water jugs began to be produced.
In later years, with the development of decorative techniques, painted Shigaraki ware began to be produced. The flourishing of tea ceremony culture also led to the production of many tea ceremony utensils. With the introduction of the "nobori-gama" or ascending kiln during the Edo period (1603-1868), large numbers of everyday items were made. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), hibachi charcoal braziers fired with a blue glaze called "namakoyu" became the most produced item.
Shigaraki ware makes use of clay that is highly fire-resistant and easy to shape. Today, a wide variety of items both large and small are available, including statues of "tanuki" raccoon dogs and owls, plant pots and vases, and sanitary ceramics.
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