Tamba Tachikui Ware


Numbering among the six old kilns of Japan, Tamba Tachikui Yaki dates back to the end of the Heian period (794-1185). A ""hole kiln"" or anagama was used up until the Momoyama period (1573-1600) but then noborigama or ""climbing kilns"" came into use along with the kickwheel, which in this area is turned anti-clockwise. The noborigama and traditional techniques are still in use today.
In the early days, large pots were made but with the coming of the Edo period (1600-1868), many famous pieces of pottery were made for the tea ceremony under the guidance of the tea master Kobori Enshu. Such articles are still being made along with various pieces of crockery, sake flasks, vases, ornaments and large plant pots.

Using ash and iron glazes, everyday articles with a rustic tenor are the mainstay of this ware. Those fired in a noborigama take on a very distinctive coloring and surface texture because of the way that the ash from the pine logs used to fire the kiln blows about. The ash mixes with the glaze to produce interesting effects which are accepted and called haikaburi, and gives each piece its own individual character.


Thanks to being ash-glazed and iron-glazed, these no-frills pots exude all the rustic beauty of every day living objects. As these pots are baked in ascending ovens, the ashes of the pine firewood used in the oven melt onto the applied glaze and causing deformations and color variations and creating peculiar patterns called “haikaburi” (ash marks). The appearance of these patterns varies from pot to pot, giving each an individual character.

How to make

The manufacturing process is roughly divided into the following stages: clay preparation, molding, decoration, painting, glazing and firing. Even though shapes are mostly created on the potter's wheel, techniques such as “tatara”, hand-molding and stamping are also used. The process is a true example of “piecemeal manufacturing,” as articles are created one by one, from working the clay to finishing the products. When glaze is not applied, pots are baked in ascending kilns or hole-type kilns.