Products of fortuitous coincidence
Jealously guarded fine clays from the feudal service era,
handed down exclusively within the original lineage.
In search of superior raw materials, Lord Kuroda discovered high-quality clay at Nanakuma, and in 1686, he relocated his kiln to Sawara-gun, located in what is now Ogaya in Fukuoka-shi. Some of the clay of that time, known as Oniwayaki Takatori, is still used today to make pottery works. This clay from the feudal service era is guarded jealously and used only by the original Miraku Kiln.
It is only the availability of these special clays that enable the Miraku Kiln to re-create the kirei-sabi elegance of Enshu Takatori works and to produce the sophisticated, finely detailed tea ceramics of characteristically thin structure.
Glazes of seven colors,
created by the beautiful nature of Kyushu.
There are seven glazes that express the characteristics of Takatori ware—kokuyu (black), rokushoyu (green-blue), furashiyu (transparent), oyu (yellow), takamiyayu (green-brown), dokayu (copper), and hakuyu (white). The ingredients of the glazes are entirely natural, derived from straw, stones, and similar materials. Of course, today’s analysis technology makes it possible to synthesize glazes chemically. From the point of view of uniform coloring, this approach may be superior, but if only man-made materials are used, only a premeditated beauty is possible. Since transcendent beauty beyond human understanding can only be pursued with natural, unrefined materials, the Miraku Kiln only utilizes natural materials. This means that whenever we are ready to open up the kiln after firing, we hold our breath. We can never know what colors nature will display to us. Even after measured calculations based on many years of experience, “heaven only knows” what miraculous coloring will result. It will naturally be a one-in-a-million outcome, never to be repeated.
Skills transmitted from parent to child,
using kick wheel and shaping stick
in pursuit of thinness.
The essence of Takatori ware is its thin structure. The potters at the Miraku Kiln create tea utensils using a kick wheel, as well as wooden tools that they make themselves to suit their hands. The works are produced through a precise coordination between the sensations transmitted from their tools to their fingertips and the movement of their feet.
Like this, they can achieve a thickness of as little as 1.5 mm when making katatsuki (“shouldered”) tea caddies, the most emblematic of Takatori ware products. At the Miraku Kiln, this remarkable technique is not described in any manual or drawing; it is transmitted as a jealously guarded set of skills from parent to child.
Traditional clays, natural glazes, and skills preserved by a single person in the lineage. The works of tea ceramics created by this trinity of miracles are truly unique and absolutely precious.