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The picturesque areas in Fukui prefecture overlooking the Japan Sea produce another distinctive warm-tone ceramic style known as Echizen.One can find remnants of ancient noborigama (climbing kilns) and pottery shards hundreds of years old littering the countryside here.Bizen pottery is said to remind us of our singular existence shaped by fate and circumstances.

The areas around Seto are homes of numerous artists, who produce a rich variety of both traditional and contemporary works.The extraordinary depth and history of Japanese pottery inspire contemporary artists whose aim is not only to continue the heritage, but to take it beyond in pursuit of their artistic visions.Historic earth-tone Tanba wares were originally designed for storage and daily use, and had an unpretentious grace.Today, the areas around this rather remote locale are homes of many potters who continue to make excellent traditional Tanba wares as well as contemporary designs. Tanba (Land of Red Waves) was named after a type of red rice grown in ancient time which turned the area into a sea of red around harvest times.Among the old historic pottery centers, Seto is the only one that made glazed ceramics since the Heian Period.

Seven types of glaze have been developed (Kiseto, Koseto, Shino, Oribe, Kaiyu, Tetsuyu, and Ofuke), each with its own distinct aesthetics.Echizen ceramics are typically fired at high temperature to a deep shade of brown, with distinctive and often intense fire markings that contrast with their overall subdued colors.A number of highly innovative potters work in this area.The name is often translated as Tamba, corrupting both its pronunciation and meaning.Shigaraki, an old pottery center in the mountains, produces an excellent clay with relatively low iron content.By the Momoyama period (1573-1614), a unique aesthetic sensibility was firmly established with the acceptance of ceramic utensils for the Japanese tea ceremony by influential tea masters like Sen-no-Rikyu.