Bizen ware has its roots in Sueki pottery that was introduced to Japan from the Korean peninsula in the 5th century. During the Heian period (794-1185), kilns were built to produce necessities such as bowls and roof tiles. Later on, besides everyday items like urns, vases, and mortars, teapots and tea cups for tea ceremonies began to be made. During the Edo period (1603-1868), Bizen potters received support and protection from the local feudal lords, and they produced many masterpieces that made Bizen ware famous all over Japan.
Bizen ware is made using a viscous type of clay, and is fired slowly in a kiln for around two weeks. The wares are not glazed or decorated, but they acquire natural patterns and shadings due to the effects of the heat, flames, and ashes inside the kiln. Their charm lies in their simplicity, sturdiness, and rough texture that conveys the warmth of the clay.
Bizen ware is also known for its functionality. It does not break easily, keeps its contents warm, keeps water fresh, and even enhances the aroma and taste of sake. Today, Bizen potters make a wide variety of practical items, including plates, cups, sake cups, flower vases, and more.
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