Iwami Ware


About 1763, Morita Motozo who lived in the province of Iwami learned how to make pottery from a potter from present-day Yamaguchi prefecture, and he began making small items such as lipped bowls and sake flasks. Some 20 years later, it seems that much larger pieces of pottery such as water jars found their way into the area from present-day Okayama prefecture and these were also made.

Using a clay similar to the one used for porcelain, most of the pieces produced are either glazed with a lightish brown glaze made from a iron rich local mineral, or have a transparent glaze made from another mineral containing an alkali. The latter turns ochre with complete combustion occurs, and green when there is incomplete combustion. Various items used in the kitchen are now made along side water jars and suribachi, a ridged ""mortar"" bowl used for grinding such things as sesame.


These ceramics are mostly made with a clay similar to porcelain and are then given a brown glaze made from local stones containing iron or a transparent glaze made with stones containing alkalis. The transparent glaze turns ocher if baked after the flames have completely combusted while turning blue if baked in incomplete combustion conditions.

How to make

The clay used for these ceramics is found in the Iwami region. This soil is immersed in water, reduced to mud and then separated into the clay that can be used for pottery and other components that will be discarded. The mud which has been sorted this way is dried, made into pottery clay and then molded into shape by means of techniques such as turning on a potter’s wheel or Tatara. Once molded, the pots are allowed to dry in the shade and then baked in an oven at a temperature of 1,300 C°.