In this article, I’m going to introduces porcelain, one of the materials used in tea ware.
What is porcelain?
Porcelain is a white, translucent pottery with a fine surface texture and a smooth touch.
Since it contains a lot of glassy substances, it can be a little transparent when it is exposed to light.
Feldspar and quartzite, which are often contained in the clay, that is the raw material of porcelain, crystallize and become very hard when fired at high temperature.
For this reason, porcelain can be made stronger, thinner and lighter than pottery. It is a characteristic of porcelain.
Porcelain is not water absorbent and has a smooth surface, which prevents the aroma and ingredients of tea from being absorbed by the tea ware, allowing the original flavor and fragrance of the tea leaves to be brewed.
It is recommended especially for beginners as a tea bowl which is easy to take care of and brew a delicious cup of tea without any tips.
Let me introduce you to famous Japanese porcelain.
Arita ware is a pottery produced around Arita Town in Saga Prefecture.
It was made for the first time in Japan 400 years ago. It is said that Arita ware have influenced the world-famous brand “Meissen”.
Arita ware is transparent white porcelain with vivid patterns in various colors. Especially in Europe, Arita ware has been popular since old days under the name of “IMARI”.
Porcelain is basically made by mixing several types of earth, but Arita ware is made from only one type of porcelain clay. It is very rare porcelain in the world, and transparent white porcelain is praised as “white gold” and is highly appreciated around the world.
Kutani ware is produced in Kanazawa, Kaga, Mino, and Komatsu in Ishikawa Prefecture, and they make pottery as well as porcelain.
It is an authentic pottery that the Imperial Household Agency uses as a gift for celebrities and the royal families overseas, and it was also presented to Charles, Prince of Wales as a wedding gift.
Kutani ware is so famous that it is called “There is no Kutani ware without telling the overglaze painting” and is one of the representative colored ceramics of Japan, and is also famous for its gorgeous tea ware.
The overglaze painting is a technique in which a picture is painted with pigments after final firing and then re-baked at a high temperature of about 800℃, creating a unique and distinctive pattern on the work.
Kutani ware’s overglaze painting is called “Go-saite (five-color glaze)” because the colors of “red, yellow, purple, green, dark blue” are used to decorate the pottery and its gorgeous and bold coloring and decorations are unforgettable once you see it.
Hasami ware is made in and around Hasami Town in Nagasaki prefecture.
Although the word “pottery” may conjure up images of high-class, but Hasami ware is used to make tableware for daily use by the common people. In addition, about 20% of Japanese tableware is Hasami ware.
There is no specific technique for Hasami ware and since various artists are flexibly making pottery in the shapes and designs demanded by the times, there is a wide variety of designs and sizes.
Because of its stylish appearance and the fact that it can be easily purchased not only at specialty shops but also at tableware shops and general stores, it has recently become popular with the younger generation, who were not originally interested in pottery.