When it comes to craftsmanship, it's not only the Japanese knives that we've developed a passion for. Just like the knives, Japanese ceramics combine highly localised techniques and styles with years of tradition and we've put together an edit of our favorite pieces, predominantly from Gifu prefecture, for you.
Mino ware ceramics (Mino yaki in Japanese) refers to pottery made mainly in eastern Gifu Prefecture in Tajimi, Toki, Mizunami, and Kani. Mino ware does not maintain a single style but instead has over 15 types of pottery using high-quality clay. The production process of Mino ware uses 9 processes starting with kneading the clay, then shaping, drying, and bisque firing which removes moisture from the raw material and increases durability by burning combustibles. Next underglaze decoration is applied before glazing, where patterns are drawn beneath the glaze, and then finally glazing creates a glass-like coat of the surface, reducing permeability and increasing durability.
Mino ceramics has a long history of over 1,300 years, thought to have first begun during the late Kofun period of the 7th century in the Tono region of Gifu Prefecture when hard Sueki earthenware was fired in anagama kilns, an ancient style of mountainside kilns, brought to Japan from China in the 5th Century. An anagama (a Japanese term meaning “cave kiln”) consists of a firing chamber with a firebox at one end and a flue at the other.
Before World War I, European countries had been exporting dishware worldwide. However, they became unable to manufacture these products due to the war, leading to the growth of Japanese exports. After World War II, some potters proved that momoyama-to ceramics were derived from the Mino area and resulting in an increase of Mino-ware artists. Mino ware became the form of pottery boasting the most significant production in Japan, both in terms of prestige and volume.
We've chosen these unique small-batch Japanese ceramics for their beautiful and unusual shapes and glazes, which use natural materials and traditional elements, with pared-back forms. Many of the glazes use earthy tones and ornate designs and make perfect gifts for those who enjoy a flat-white in a beautiful hand-made cup or like to enjoy a perfectly poured tea from an exquisite traditional teapot.