The Daisei Kiln was opened around 150 years ago in the town of Mashiko, Japan. Daisei is known for being one of the few remaining "noborigama" climbing kilns in the area, and is fueled using Japanese red pine wood. Noborigama kilns consist of multiple chambers built on a slope, with the wood-burning firing chamber at one end, followed by chambers that sit increasingly higher on the slope.
Daisei Gama has been in the Otsuka family for seven generations; the previous kiln was constructed in the 1950s, but was destroyed during the tragic 2011 earthquake in Japan. The kiln was then rebuilt, and some of the items in our collection are from the new kiln's first firing––which is said to bring good luck to those who use them. Those pieces are also marked with a horizontally-flipped Kanji character for the word "horse", a symbol that has traditionally been used to distinguish pieces that come from the first firing of a noborigama kiln.
To source Mashiko clay it must be dug out from the mountains near the city then mixed with water in tanks to separate out the larger sediment. In that separation what happens is that the creamy top layer has just the right texture and consistency for pottery making –– soft enough for molding, but firm enough to withstand the firing process. Then, the first step of processing the clay is to knead it to expel any air bubbles or other particles that can cause cracks during the firing and to give it a smooth, even consistency for the wheel. This is how the clay is prepared before the potter can even start to work with it.
Mashiko is known for the good quality of its glaze and soil, and the old-fashioned way of producing pottery has been well preserved by the locals. Muneyoshi Yanagi and Shoji Hamada were two major influencers of the Japanese folk movement, and they recognized Mashiko ceramics as a folk art. The region developed a reputation that came to be known throughout the country, leading to a sudden increase in ceramic artists who specialized in the style. Nowadays, Mashiko-yaki is not only popular domestically in Japan but abroad as well.
The ceramic production in Mashiko is characterized by the use of the traditional reddish brown "kaki" glaze unique to Mashiko, as well as white "nukajiro" rice husk, "nuka celadon" rice husk, "tenmoku" black iron, and "ame" yellowish brown iron glazes.
- One of a kind - Dimensions: 4" across x 2.75" tall