Japanese Potteries(Explanations to the technical terms of ceramics No.22)

There are various technical words on potteries. Here are some of those, for which I'd like to give you some remarks.

White No.1

There are various technical terms in pottery. Here, we will interpret the term "white".
What is your impression of a white vessel? Is it polished, simple, and affordable, or just a mass-produced product like those inexpensive ‘white’ vessel sold at IKEA? Some might suspect the reason for the vessel's white color is to lower the cost of production.
In pottery there are many terms of white vessels, such as kohiki (slipped ware used for Japanese teapots). Kohiki involves the mixture of red clay and white mud, and is one of the most popular. White clay can be found in the ground of mountains, though it is very rare. Most of the time, red clays are more common to be found in the mountains. Even if one is lucky enough to obtain white clay, it often will turn slightly yellowish after being fired, instead of retaining its desirable white color we want. 15,000 years ago, red clay was a rich resource and the most common pottery material. This shows that white clay was not always the first choice material for pottery. Although white earthenware does not exist, darker earthenware does. This is because as the earthenware gets carbonized to a darker color, it becomes stronger and less likely to crack.
Also, Noyaki, or the "open-firing" method allows vessels buried under ash to become natural darker vessels. The longer the vessels are buried under ash, the higher quality they become. Until around 1600 B.C., white vessels were seldom seen. After this time, the Chinese were able to find a new method that allowed for firing in higher temperatures. By using that particular method, the making of yellowish and greenish color vessels had begun. During that time period, the Japanese had just begun entering the creation of pottery. White vessels that carry the yellowish or greenish color are seen as divine, holy vessels, in contrast to those of darker red brown or black colors. Porcelain ware was rapidly taking hold in China, and different white colors like snow white and white cloud began to spread very early on.
Reference White Porcelain Dish with Lotus Flower Design, Collection of Tokyo National Museum

White porcelains were very popular in Korea. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910), white were considered to represent the royal color. The white porcelains (also known as Joseon white porcelain or Joseon baekja produced during the Joseon dynasty) were reserved only for those of the royal family the nobility uses. White porcelains were preferred and praised precious than any other porcelain during the time to represent Korean Confucian. Because of this, the production of the white vessels increased rapidly. The simplicity and elegance white vessels provided this unique calm feeling makes the vessels very popular till this days. At the same time, Kohiki was also growing rapidly. It eventually led to find this new technique called Horimishima. It is a technique by using a broom-like rough brush, fearlessly painting over on the white clay with brush marks and flower pattern seal (used for signature in Japan), and finish by plaster in to the white clay.
Reference Tea bowl of Horimishima type, Collection of Tokyo National Museum


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