Hagi Ware: Characteristics

Hagi ware owes its reputation to the quality of their bowls. According to the old saying, “Ichi Raku, Ni Hagi, San Karatsu”, that is “First Raku, Second Hagi, Third Karatsu”, essentially saying Raku-style is the ideal pottery to use for the tea ceremony. It is manufactured in Hagi area in Yamaguchi prefecture, and is well known for a pottery very much preferred by tea masters.

We find Hagi ware’s characteristics in its softness and water absorbability. Since it is fired in Noborigama at low temperature for a long time, it is fragile, heavy and moist. In addition, due to its water absorbability, tea and sake penetrates little by little and changes the color of the pottery. This aspect is highly appreciated by the tea masters and is called ‘Cha-nare’ or ‘Nana-bake’.

The glazes used for Hagi ware are mainly wood ash and straw ash. They call thick milky glaze ‘Shira-hagi glaze’ and ‘white glaze’, and the translucent one ‘hagi glaze’, which is commonly used by many potters and pottery studios.

Today, in addition to conventional tea cups, modern utensils that embody tradition and newness are also produced. Furthermore, artistic works of Hagi ware are also receiving high reputations in overseas.

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