museum village

The present day Karatsu

Karatsu ware appreciated by tea masters
Deeply reflects the influences of the Chinese techniques.

imageCeramics are called "setomono" in eastern Japan, while they are called "karatsumono" in western Japan because ceramic wares made throughout the Hizen district were shipped from the port of Karatsu. From the Muromachi period to the Momoyama period glazed ceramics were fired at relatively high temperatures and came to be greatly influenced by potters coerced to Japan from Korea by Hideyoshi. However, with the success in firing porcelain in Arita, Arita ware replaced Karatsu ceramics around Arita, consequently causing a decline in the Karatsu style.
The revival of Karatsu ware owed a great deal to Muan Nakazato (12th Tarozaemon Nakazato), a national important intangible cultural property, who belonged to the official domain kiln and restored a number of techniques for Ko-Garatsu ware.

Different types of Karatsu ware have been appreciated by numerous tea masters. To be found among the major works of Karatsu ceramics are, Oku-Korai following the Korai tea bowls, Seto-Karatsu of honde and kawakujirade, Chosen-Karatsu coated with straw ash glaze (warabaiyu) and iron glaze (tetsuameyu), E-Garatsu depicted with iron or copper glaze and coated with translucent glaze, and Madara-Karatsu having blue spots of straw ash glaze. Karatsu ware is characterized by the paddling technique (tatakizukuri) in which strings of clay are stacked on a wheel and the outside is paddled with a wooden paddle into shape with the inside supported by battens. This is said to have been handed down from Korea.
Today there are about 60 kilns of Karatsu ware in Karatsu City, Takeo City, and Higashi-Matsura-gun. Introduced here is Tarozaemon Nakazato, a representative potter of Karatsu ware.

image 13th Tarozaemon Nakazato
It was the 13th Tarozaemon Nakazato who added a modern aesthetic sense to the dynamic Ko-Garatsu that he had revived using the paddling method.
He inherited from his predecessor the technique of forming jars and pitchers in which strings of clay are stacked on a wheel making them seamless and smooth by hand. The outside is paddled with a wooden paddle into shape with the inside supported by battens. He completed his unique picturesque Karatsu ware with a series of wave and jumping fish designs using the traditional paddle method from Southeast Asian countries in combination with the above technique and coating the design with a Persian blue glaze.

Tatakikaratuzougangyomontubo 13th Tarozaemon Nakazato pnxt.
Made in 1996
Owned by the Kyushu Ceramic Museum in Saga

COLUMN Kiln patronized by the domain where a number of ceramic pieces were fired to present to the lord and still having traces of being used to produce many masterpieces.
Tea bowl kiln

Tea bowl kiln (ochawan-gama) in Tarozaemon's pottery in Tojin-cho. According to the diary written by Kiheiji Nakazato, the 5th, the kiln was moved there by orders of the lord in 1734 (Kyoho 19). Since then, numerous Karatsu wares have been fired in the kiln for presentation to the lord. This was up until the domain system was abolished in the Meiji period. The Nakazato family had used the kiln until the Taisho period. It is not used now, but its walls, firing opening, and ceiling are well maintained.
In the first half of the 15th century
Owned by the Nagoya Castle Museum in Saga