Sobachoko Cups by Baizan-gama
These sobachoko cups were made at the Baizan kiln in the Tobe-ware region of Ehime.
The original purpose of sobachoko is as vessels for dipping noodles, but they can also be used as small cups for coffee, or in food presentation.
These display several of the patterns within the stock of the Baizan kiln. These include a kōshi style lattice, and tokusa indigo stripes.
Each has a diameter of around 8.5cm, and is about 7cm high. They weigh 200g.
About Tobe-ware / Baizan-gama.
Tobe-ware is a tradition in blue and white ceramics in Ehime, on Japan’s Shikoku island. It has its origins in the late 18th century decision of the local feudal domain to import potters from the large porcelain region of Arita. Since then Tobe-ware has continued in a parallel tradition, and is known today for its small family kilns, and dedication to hand painted techniques.
The Baizan kiln was founded in 1882 by Masagorō Umeno, and stands today at the centre of Tobe-ware production. A family business now in its fourth generation, it remains true to the traditional processes in working with porcelain. Round shapes are formed on the pottery wheel, others are made with moulds. After a bisque firing at 940 degrees, the pieces are hand painted in the cobalt blue, and reds of the Tobe style, before a final firing for 22 hours at 1235 degrees.
Baizan-gama is particularly known for its arabesque pattern of intertwining stems, but has a deep repertoire of patterns and shapes, that provide interest in food presentation, and a window into the traditions of Tobe-ware in Ehime.