5 generations of distinguished potters from the founder of Mumyoi-yaki to a Living National Treasure
Mumyoi-yaki is created from the reddish clay known as mumyoi which was first discovered in 1844 near the end of the Edo Era within the shaft of a Sado gold mine. Its notable characteristic is the brilliant reddish-brown color along with its smooth texture due to the extremely fine particles in the clay and its toughness when fired. The first Sekisui Ito (born as Tomizaburo Ito) started Mumyoi-yaki whose technique and artistry have been brought down and honed by succeeding generations up until the current Sekisui Ito V who was selected to become a Living National Treasure due to his extremely high ability.
Wide artistic diversity through Sekisui Ito V’s elegance and wildness
Many of Sekisui Ito V’s works can be seen in the museum. The elegant works with flower patterns appear to have been delicately drawn by hand, but they have actually been created through a process called neri-age. This distinctive technique involves clay of different colors layered on top of each other, rounded and then cut into round pieces before being shaped. Furthermore, works so versatile that it is hard to imagine that they have been created by the same person are created through techniques such as youhen (color variations through the firing process) which bring alive the texture of Mumyoi-yaki products and the crushing and kneading of the mumyoi clay via rocks from the sea bottom by Sado Island. These works include “Sado Shima” which reveals the ferocious nature of Sado. Even though the artist has become a National Treasure, Sekisui Ito V has continued to strive for further possibilities when it comes to Mumyoi-yaki.
Valuable display of the works of Sekisui Ito right from the first generation
In the small gallery at the back of the exhibition room, you can also view the generational works of Sekisui Ito I to IV. These are very precious displays where you can take away an understanding of the passage of time, the differences in style and the characteristics of each artist.
Many works which you can sample by hand and then purchase
Beginning with the works of Sekisui Ito shown in the museum, almost all of the products which include tea cups and other types of cups created by artisans in the Sekisui kilns can be bought.