Hagi Yaki (Hagi ware)
Place of production: Hagi city, Yamaguchi prefecture
The story: The Brother of potters, Lee Shakko Lee-Sanpei from Korea were invited by the famous warlord, Terumoto Mouri in 1604 to come to Hagi city and teach their pottery techniques. The potters who lived in the Hagi city made continuous efforts to mix their techniques with Korai-Yaki”(Korean pottery), having been encouraged to do pottery businesses under the Mouri clan for a long time. As a result, Hagi-Yaki(Hagi pottery) became popular among Japanese tea connoisseurs. What makes “Hagi-Yaki” so special is its simplicity and humble designs with minimal paintings. Many tea masters were fascinated by its soft yet distinctive texture that was made naturally. There was even an old saying to describe the highly detailed quality of Hagi-Yaki, which is “first-Raku, second-Hagi and third-Karatsu”.
Another good point about Hagi-Yaki is that its color changes over time because of its two ingredients, sensitive potter’s clay(陶土) and glaze(釉薬), causing fine cracks on the surface. The pottery will look better and richer over time absorbing tea stains from the cracks.
This color change is called “Shichi Henge” or ” Seven transformations”, where people find the beauty and the importance of the flow of time.
The foot that supports the body of this pottery is called “Kiri-Takadai”(cut foot)style. There are many theories as to why it has cut foot style. For example, potters might have tried to allow common people to use their Hagi-yaki by considering “cut style” as a damaged article. They might have wanted to heat the whole foot by making a cut. Or they might have thought the pottery would be better with imperfection with a cut than perfection.
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