Discovering Hagi Yaki

Discovering Hagi Yaki

Ichi Raku ni Hagi san Karatsu

First Raku, second Hagi, third Karatsu

Hagi yaki has been considered one of the finest Japanese ceramic forms for centuries. Dating back over 400 years, it originated from Korean potters arriving in Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Most well-known for ceremonial teaware, centuries-old Hagi yaki chawan tea bowls are still used in tea ceremonials today.

Hagi yaki is defined by its natural elegance and simplicity. Traditionally, only clear or white ash glazes were used, calling attention to shape and texture. Even using only two ash glazes, Hagi yaki artists create a range of beautiful styles.

Gohonte - 御本手

Featuring pink or white spots against a backdrop of grey or beige, Gohonte pieces are coated with white slip and fired in a reduction under a transparent glaze. It is named after the order forms and catalogue books (御本 - "gohon") that tea masters employed during the Azuchi-Momoyama period to commission tea bowls. Find examples of Gohonte spots in Sohei Matsuno’s Hakame series.

Biwa-iro - 枇杷色 

Boasting a rich yellow-ochre hue, Biwa-iro pieces are made by firing the earth ash glaze in oxidation. Predominantly linked to Hagi yaki Ido chawan tea bowls, this style stands out as one of the most sought-after variations available.

Shira Hagi - 白萩 

Using straw ash glazes, Shira Hagi creates warmth and textural depth not found in white porcelain. The thickness of the white glazes contributes to distinctive characteristics - such as drips, pinholes and glaze crawling. See Shira Hagi pieces in both Masanori Makino and Senryuzan Kiln’s works.

Ao-Hagi - 青萩

Strikingly blue-tinted, the Ao-Hagi method involves glazing a particular iron-rich clay with a straw ash glaze and firing it in a woodfire climbing kiln. The iron in both the clay and straw ash combine to produce a vibrant and beautiful blue. We hold a number of Ao-Hagi pieces from
Senryuzan Kiln in our collection.

Oni Hagi - 鬼萩

Starkly contrasting the clay body and the thick, bubbling ash glaze, Oni Hagi's unique appearance has made it a popular style that showcases the versatility of Hagi yaki. Translating to 'demon hagi', it demonstrates how artisans can express their creativity within the framework of a rich and time-honoured tradition.

Fired at low temperatures, Hagi yaki remains porous and absorbent. Tea and other liquids seep into the pores of the clay, changing the colour of each piece over time. This phenomenon is known as the Seven Disguises of Hagi yaki or "Nanabake". It is often said that Hagi yaki is not finished when fired. Each piece is a vessel that develops together with its owner over time. Long after you buy Hagi yaki pottery, you'll still have a lot to look forward to.

Find our full range of Hagi yaki ceramics in our Japanese ceramics collection.

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