Home » What is Tobe Ware? | Artistic Traditional Crafts from the Land of Mandarins

What is Tobe Ware? | Artistic Traditional Crafts from the Land of Mandarins

by StarkEvan
1869 views 5 min read

Tobe ware (also known as Tobe yaki in Japanese) is a type of ceramic ware made in the Tobe district of Ehime prefecture. Tobe ware is distinguished by its lovely translucent white ceramic design and texture. Tobe ware’s white ceramic texture has a slight blue tint due to the higher iron content contained in the porcelain stone used to produce the clay used in Tobe ware. There are four primary styles of Tobe ware: hakuji (white porcelain), sometsuke (cobalt blue underglaze), seiji (celadon, or greenness, porcelain), and tenmoku (iron-glazed). People continue to love Tobe ware an a handcrafted ceramic with a natural appearance.

The history of Tobe ware

Tobe bowl is thought to have been produced primarily in the vicinity of Tobe city in Ehime prefecture. Since Sue ware was first produced here in the eighth century, this region has been known for various styles of ceramic production. Due to its advantageous position for ceramic kilns with its surrounding mountains and sloping terrain, the region has been celebrated as a location of ceramic production since the middle of the Edo period (1615-1868). The Tobegawa River flows through the heart of the city. The first use of the name “Tobe ware” (“Tobe yaki”) dates from 1740 in the History of the Zu Domain (zu hiroku). It mentions unique ceramic bowls and dishes made in the Tobe region, as well as the discovery of ceramic shards similar to Karatsu ware from Kysh in the ruins of an old kiln in the area.

In 1882 the Baizan kiln was established by Umeno Masagorō. It has become the main kiln for traditional Tobe ware. It specializes in works for daily use, including serving plates and flower vases produced in simplified white porcelain shapes decorated with elaborate blue underglaze designs and multi-colored overglaze painting. “Antique Tobe” (“Ko-Tobe”) refers to ceramic works made during the Edo period (1615-1868). Tobe ware developed primarily as “blue-and-white” (“sometsuke”) porcelain with dramatic painted designs of cobalt blue underglaze applied with elaborate brushwork during this time. During the Meiji era, new inventive techniques were introduced, resulting in a diverse range of styles. In 1976 Tobe ware was officially designated as a traditional craft by the government of Japan.

How to use Tobe ware

Tobe ware’s understated style goes with almost everything, making it suitable for multiple uses. In addition, Tobe’s pure design goes particularly well with blue garments and tablecloths, as you can see in the above picture. Tobe ware features thick lines and features, and can offer an overall warm aesthetic.

Where to Buy Tobe Ware?

You can purchase Tobu ware below. You will love the warmth of the tableware, carefully crafted piece by piece by the artisans.

MUSUBI KILN – Global Japanese traditional tableware store.

Below are a few popular products at MUSUBI KILN.

Baizan Kiln Arabesque Tobe Round Plate 7.08in
Baizan Kiln Small Arabesque Tobe Soup Cup
Baizan Kiln Arabesque Tobe Mortar Bowl 6.69in

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Steph 08/12/2021 - 9:56 AM

Checking back on product weight which is not indicated. Any guide in terms of collection – lightest?

Takatsugu Fusada 08/13/2021 - 2:57 PM

Hi! Which items do you want to know the weight of?


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