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Mino Ware

Mino ware is the name given to ceramic ware that was originally created in the Gifu prefecture, in the south of that region, and now makes up around 50% of the Japanese market. The Gifu area was once considered one large country, and was divided into three regions called Seino, Chuno, and Tono. Mino Ware, or Minoyaki, came from areas such as Tajimi-shi, Toki-shi, Mizunami-shi, Kasahara-cho, and Kani-shi, all of which are in the west of Tono to the east of Chuno.

It was in the earthen vessel period of that Mino Ware really started, as the kilns during that time were in a small area and anything made in them was just for the local population. By the time of the Heian period, Kaiyutoki began which is pottery with an ash glaze, and was the very first high temperature glaze that was ever made in Japan. Kaiyutoki started in the Aichi prefecture, in Sanageyo, and the more popular that it became the wider that it spread across Japan. This meant that kilns with the genealogy of Sanageyo were built in the area that developed Mino Ware.

These kilns developed not only Kaiyutoki, but also Ryokuyutoki, which was pottery with a green glaze. By the end of the 10th century, Mino Ware was the most popular and desirable ceramic in the whole of Japan.

The kilns of Mino were established by Seto’s ceramic artists in the Muromachi period, and this started the Koseto, or Old Seto period which was a key foundation of glazed pottery history. Ogama soon followed this, or large kiln, and the pottery developed into the Seto Mino period. The Ogama kilns brought a wide variety of benefits to the potters, including a larger surface area and volume, much better combustion efficiency, and the local stable production of glazed pottery.

As more and more pottery was produced, the quality of the glaze tone was soon compared to the Anagama period, and green glaze became less popular as tea room vessels or Tenmoku and round plate with ash glaze or Haiyumaruzara started to become more popular. It was in the Momoyama period, however, that Mino Ware really began to be connected directly with the tea ceremony. The pottery for the tea ceremony was created and called Kaiseki, and this marked the movement to the Mino Seto period, which many experts consider to be the absolute height of Mino ceramic history. Below are some examples of this wonderful time.