Being considered the oldest art form in Japan, Japanese ceramics is also called tojiki or yakimono. It has existed in the land of the rising sun for a very long time, during the Jomon era, which was around 15,000 to 300 years BC.
A tradition perpetuated to this day, the city of Japan still has a wide variety of ceramics made with traditional methods and techniques specific to the country.
The style of Japanese pottery is inspired by the specificities of each region and the lifestyles of its inhabitants. They are generally designed with shapes and patterns from unique and original artistic creations.
The manufacture of Japanese ceramics is mainly based on the use of clay and terracotta with a reddish brown color. The pottery is obtained by oxidation firing called hajiki. At the beginning, the pottery is made on an open fire and at low temperature. Towards the end of the 4th century, potters started to use special kilns called anagama, which are tunnel-shaped. The anagama could offer a maximum temperature of 1200 degrees. Moreover, there are several kilns built by the ancient potters that are still found in many places in Japan today.
The potters of the past made many pieces that were indispensable in everyday life, for decoration, rituals and traditions. For example, there are globular vases or jars of all kinds and shapes, for storing grains, rice, or ashes.
Moreover you have certainly already heard about the maneki neko, this traditional lucky charm is often made out of ceramics too !
It should be noted that there are two main types of ceramics that differ according to their finish, porous and porcelain.
Porcelains are a much thicker and stronger form of pottery. They are also called glazed ceramics. Porcelains are characterized by their composition containing kaolin and quartz, as well as their firing at a temperature of around 1200 degrees.
Subsequently, the porcelains are subjected to very complex and special finishing treatments. They included meticulous and impressive decorative elements. One could find glazes of all kinds, drawings made with a brush or even improbable patterns obtained by cutting. Thus, porcelain was intended to complement the table arts in the Japanese tradition, as they had a unique and incomparable beauty....
The art of ceramics continues to develop in Japan. It is also possible to deepen the techniques of the art of pottery in the universities of Kyoto and Tokyo.
On the other hand, one can still find many forms of ceramics made over several eras which are currently exhibited in the National Museum of Tokyo. For example, there is the model of a shell-shaped vase which was made during the Jomon period, or the mysterious figurines and statuettes, often made with grotesque shapes, which are the source of the history of art in Japan.