赤膚焼 （Akahada Pottery)
Below explanation is quoted from “Shozaon Oshio” an Akahada Pottery in Mt. Akahada, Nara.
“Akahada Pottery is produced at Mt. Aakahada, Nara of which soil is most suitable for pottery. Clay images were already created there in the early 1st century, as recorded in the ancient documents.
In the later 16th Century, potter Yokuro of Tokoname, Owari (the present of Aichi Pref.) was invited there by Toyotomi Hidenaga, Chief Conucillor of State, and began to make the pottery. Later, craftsman Nonomura Ninsei come from Kyoto and exerted his ingenuity to produce fine pottery. The feudal lords of the Koriyama clone of Yamato (the present Nara Pref.) also contributed to protect the ceramic industry to promote the folk craft, and the fame of Akahada Pottery was greatly enhanced. In fact, Akahada was one of the seven famous potteries favored by Kobori Enshu, master of the tea ceremony in the 17th century.
The Craftman Kashiwaya Buhoe and potter Yamaguchi Nuizou were two outstanding figures of Akahada Pottery in the 19th century. Buhoe produced different fine work with Akahada clay. Highly appreciated was his simple manner by which milk-white glazed Nara dolls, incense cases, ornaments, etc. were created. To them belongs the credit of completing the foundation of the present Akahada Pottery based in the traditional manner. “
There are a lot of traditional potteries in Japan. Each pottery has its original features. It is said that Akahara Pottery is the best suitable pottery for “抹茶（Maccha）”, a Japanese traditional tea. “Maccha” is developed by “村田珠光 （Murata Juko）in around A.D.1500 in Nara prefcture. Akahada Pottery has been used by Japanese tea ceremony since them.
Every process is made by hand. Patterns of the pottery are no exception to this rule. Above pattern is made by one by one. It takes almost 2 months.Please look at works of the arts below. Can you imagine how long it took to produce? This is no other than masterpiece.
One of the unique features of Akahada Pottery is its illustration. Can you see a point in common to the potteries below? Yes, all of Pottery has similar design in those illustrations.
Those illustrations are called “奈良絵（Narae”）. The origin of “Narae” is shown in “過去現在因果経” which is one of the scripture Buddha. “過去現在因果経” is also used one of the treasure possessed in “正倉院 （Shosoin）” The teaching of Buddha has been come down through these traditional design as well.
The manufacturing process of Akahada Pottery is as follows;
After “成型（Seikei）and “仕上（Shiage”）, it is baked in low temperature. This process is called as “素焼（Suyaki）”
After “Suyaki” some different processes are required to make Akahada Pottery.
Sometimes, people who admired Akahada Pottery come to Oshio Shozan and apply to be appreciated Akahada Pottery craftsman. However, people who cannot understand the spirits of Akahada Pottery craftsman ever obtain the technique. For example, no one teach how to produce it. Craftsmen have to obtain the technique by themselves. There is neither training course nor written manual. Only craftsman who accumulated plenty of experiences can produce Akahada Pottery.
It is pretty obvious but Akahada Pottery is made of soil of Akahada Mountain. Therefore, production of Akahada Pottery is starting from ceramic generation. It is completely nature work. Soil has to be storage in water for a long time to be suitable ceramic for Akahada Pottery.
Every Akahada pottery is made by using potter’s wheel without any exception. Please gaze the hands of the craftsman. It is really stinging isn’t it? Slight moving of the hands decides shape of the pottery. Craftsman identified amount of ceramics necessary for producing pottery he imagine just by grabbing.
This is “登り窯(Climbing kiln)”. Climbing kiln is designed to keep the temperatures of each kiln the same.
Fire in the kiln is generated by Japanese red pine which is also in Akahada Mountain.
Can you see the black circle line around the pottery? Black line is one of the evidence that the pottery is made by using climbing kiln. It is sure that the pottery made by climbing kiln is only one in the world. Therefore, it is really expensive. However, a lot of people prefer the pottery made by climbing kiln.
Of course, it is impossible to made pottery only by climbing kiln to run the craftsman factory. Electric kiln make up for mass production. Even pottery fired by electric kiln is formed by hands of craftsman. It means that two type of craftsman is required. That is, one of them create masterpiece and the other produce completely same shape of pottery by using only his hands.
Above are props to accumulate the base board in the electric kiln. The difference of prop’s length is because of the control of the temperature inside electric kiln. It varies upon what kinds of pottery fired.
Ceramic painting is also made by hands completely.
Thus, various Akahada pottery are produced by craftsmen.
If you would like to buy pottery fired in climbing kiln in less expensive price, recommend one is caps for Japanese Sake. Every works are integrated in this small sized work.
Of course, masterpieces for decoration are also good but very expensive because it is only one product in the world and it takes a long time to create.
Pictures are taken at “大塩昭山 (Shozan Oshio)”. http://www.akahadayaki.com/
Shozan Oshio is corroborating with Hello Kitty requesting from Sanrio Corporation. It is also only one product in the world.