Agano Yaki dates back to the 17th century, when Hosokawa Tadaoki, who became the feudal lord of the Kokura clan in 1602, invited a Korean potter to come to Japan and had members of his clan construct a noborigama--one of the famous ""climbing kilns--in Agano.
Tadaoki was personally instructed in the art of the tea ceremony by Sen no Rikyu, the man responsible for establishing the Senke school which still exists today, and for a feudal lord, Tadaoki was deeply respected in tea ceremony circles. It seems that some really fine pottery which met with Tadaoki's approval was fired in this kiln. Subsequently, under the management of the clan, many of the tea bowls and other tea ceremony items made found favor with Kobori Enshu, who was a famous tea master at the time, and the Agano kiln became one of the seven favored by Enshu.
There is much to enjoy about Agano Yaki such as the way in which the glazes run and its coloring, the qualities of the surfaces, the luster and any changes which occur during firing. Hardly any of the pottery is figured and most of it is glazed. Having been developed for use in the tea ceremony, many of the pieces have a characteristic lightness and beauty. Tea bowls are, of course, still being made along with sake cups and flasks. There is also much tableware being made and vases, censers and other decorative pieces complete the repertoire.
A variety of difference made from coloring, flowing of the glaze, touch, gloss and variation during firing can be enjoyed in Ueno Yaki. Gloss is more used than paintings in Ueno Yaki. Originally developed as pottery for tea ceremony, it is often thin-made and chic.
How to make
Method used may vary from wheel throwing, striking, hand-twisting, foot bellowing, pressing,casting and others, but wheel throwing is the most popular technique. Patterns are created on the base material by cosmetic chipping, brush marking, carving, combing and other techniques. When applying paintings to these thin-made potteries, they are first biscuit fired and then painted, and finally completed after firing them with temperature of 1,200℃.