Types of Decoration

This fundamental depth expressing using different techniques

Kyoto ware / Kiyomizu ware has been born out of the rich culture of Kyoto. This fundamental depth, although expressed using different techniques, can be perceived in the unified refinement of the ware’s decoration. There are endless possible ways to enjoy Kyoto ware / Kiyomizu ware. It may be chosen in accordance with the seasons or setting, or to create a sense of harmony in the combination of different patterns and designs.

Sometsuke refers to porcelain that is painted with indigo pigment before being glazed. There are many different kinds of Sometsuke, including Shonzui, in which geometric patterns are used, and Sansui, in which scenes from nature are drawn. While the style is characterized by a rustic simplicity, there is also a fascinating aspect of deep significance to this porcelain.

Kakizume refers to porcelain in which the unglazed object has been completely covered with delicate, drawn patterns. It requires a high level of craft and an enormous amount of labor, but the resplendent works it produces are the very epitome of Kyoto ware / Kiyomizu ware.

In Iroe, porcelain that has been covered with a white glaze and fired is then further adorned using colored top glazes. This technique was first established in the beginning of the Edo period. Iroe depictions of scenes such as flowers from each of the four seasons, rich in color, represent the brilliance of Kyoto ware / Kiyomizu ware.

Kinsai is a form of Iroe in which the porcelain is adorned with golden decoration. Designs of flowers or finely detailed, continuous patterns are drawn upon the porcelain, creating an object of real elegance.

In Cochin, clay is squeezed out to create a design on unglazed porcelain, which is then thickly covered with vibrantly colored glazes. The three-dimensional solidity of the decoration has an impressive quality found nowhere else, and yields porcelain with a delightful and characteristic texture.

Kinrande refers to Akae or Iroe porcelain that has been further adorned in gold. As it requires many more trips to the kiln than typical processes, the labor involved is quite intensive, but the result is an object of exceptional radiance and luxury.

Akae is a form of Iroe porcelain that uses red as its primary element. Akae often features designs similar to those found in Sometsuke (but executed using a red glaze), patterns typical of the Chinese Wanli kilns prominent during the Ming dynasty, and other traditional motifs.

Mishima refers to porcelain made of white clay decorated with inlay, in which delicate flowers or other similar designs are embossed. It is a simple technique, the warmth of which can be felt in the fingertips when the unevenness of the patterns is touched.

Raku refers to earthenware that has been shaped using only hands and metal implements, and which therefore contains distortions and an inconsistent thickness. Glaze is then thickly applied before the ware is fired. Raku is mainly used during the tea ceremony. In its rustic features, Raku reflects the transitions inherent in nature and the four seasons.

Tenmoku is earthenware that has been decorated with a glaze high in iron. As the glaze transforms in the heat of the kiln, a variety of different effects and expressions appear, such as a speckling that resembles droplets of oil, and a series of fine lines that resemble the hair of the rice plant.

Tetsuyu is another style using glazes high in iron. In response to the iron content and the quantity of impurities in the glaze, the fired ware displays a variety of colors, such as black, dark and light brown, yellow, and blue, as well as an array of textures.

Stoneware that is fired at a high heat for a long period of time is referred to as Yakishime. In addition to a simple, earth-like expression, the final product is non-porous and quite durable. As Yakishime is used for longer and longer periods of time, it becomes glossier, lending the ware a distinct depth of appearance.