天草陶磁器Amakusa Pottery and Porcelain
In the old fief of Amakusa on the island of Kyushu, the village headmen encouraged the people throughout the fief to try and support themselves by making pottery and from the early 17th century and on into the 18th century, both pottery and porcelain were being produced in the province.
It was here that some fine porcelain stone was to be found and even before the 1670s Uchida Sarayama porcelain was being produced and was later followed by porcelain from such principal kilns as the one making Takahama yaki. Toward the end of the 18th century we see the establishment of such wares as the Mizunodaira style of pottery based in the village of Mizunodaira, which is now the city of Hondo The making of such wares has continued over the years and they now occupy a place in today's market as everyday pieces of pottery with a contemporary feel.
From a technical point of view the local clay shrinks very little during firing, has a good plasticity and contains just the right amount of alkali, making it ideal for both the making of porcelain and the production of glazes. The porcelain produced is either a pure white with a transparent quality, or possesses a warmth derived from the use of isu wood ash (Distylium racemosum). A particular feature of the pottery is the vast range of highly individualistic pieces being produced using a black glaze, while other pieces are a deep red, resulting from an overlaying of glazes.
Amakusa Tojiki is fashioned into a vast range of tableware and other household items serving contemporary needs.
Amakusa pottery stones are ideal raw material for porcelains as they have less shrinkage while baking, more plasticity and moderate alkaline. The stones are used to make clear white porcelains or glazed with distylium ash for warmer touch. Unique products such as Aka-namako (red sea slug) made by double glazing or products using black glazings are the characteristics of Amakusa wares.
Amakusa pottery stone and other local clays are shaped, glazed and then fired by 1,250℃ in case of ceramics and 1,300℃ in case of porcelains.