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Friday, October 01, 2010

Bizenyaki pottery (for mom!)

備前焼



I am paying one of my all too few visits to Australia this Christmas to visit my parents. Having had a few heated moments with mom on the phone in the past couple of months (over the topic of gay marriage!), I had it in my mind to bring some kind of peace offering, but left it for later.

Then two days later, all of a sudden, while doing web research for an article on ceramics, I found myself on the website of bizenyaki-so.com ("Bizenyaki Warehouse") and my eye was immediately captured by a Bizenyaki vase of breathtaking elegance and the classic rich autumnal colors of bizenyaki ware.

Bizen is the former name of Japan's Okayama prefecture, and bizenyaki (yaki meaning "firing") comes from the village of Imbe in Okayama. The clay there is high in iron content making it unreceptive to glazing, and giving it the rusty colors visible here.

This particular vase is from the Konishi Touko (小西陶古) kiln, the second piece I have bought from this kiln. It is 24cm high, and came meticulously and very securely packed in a custom-made wooden box, the lid firmly tied down with an ingenious knot that I am unable to retie the same way.

Like almost any product of traditional techniques in Japan, bizenyaki is not particularly cheap, this item having set me back 31,000 yen. However, there are some things that the eye demands that the hand reach for, and situations where elegant gifts miraculously eliminate friction.

Few companies selling high quality traditional products in Japan are willing to deal directly with overseas customers, mainly because of the language barrier. GoodsFromJapan offers a reasonably priced goods purchase proxy service for those living outside Japan who wish to make purchases in Japan. GoodsFromJapan has years of experience and hundreds of satisfied customers. Don't hesitate to use its services if, like me, you see something Japanese that just has to be had.

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