Pieces representing the beginnings of Tokoname Yaki were made at the end of the Heian period (794-1185) and it is now counted among Japan's six old kilns. During the Heian period, Kyozuka urns were made in which to put Buddhist sutras before burial in the ground as a way of asking favors of the Buddha. During the Muromachi period (1392-1573), the pottery produced mainly tea bowls and other tea ceremony items as well as ikebana flower vases. Jars appeared in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) and normal household tableware started to be produced at the end of the Edo period alongside the prized tea ceremony pieces. Sanitary items such as drain-pipes, wash-hand basin and toilets, tiles and plant pots were added to the list of products in the Meiji period (1868-1912). Undoubtedly the vast range of products available today is the result of being a production center with plentiful supplies of good quality clay to hand, and because of the area's ability to change its line of main products in step with demand down through history.
The red coloring which develops as a result of the iron in the clay is a special feature of this ware, and while some of the pieces develop the qualities of the clay to the full, others are glaze. The product line is mainly composed of traditional items including items for tea ceremony use, vases, ornaments, decorative plant pots, bonsai trays, and an assortment of jars and larger pots.
The red color that comes from the iron in the clay is a characteristic of this pottery. Items that enhance the character of the clay, glazed products, and other various items can be found.
How to make
A variety of large and small items are made using techniques ranging from the traditional potter's wheel, to hand forming and casting. The clay used as the base material has a stickiness and the particles are very fine, so it can easily be formed through carving and polishing. In this way, many products are produced using techniques befitting Tokoname yaki.