Karakusa Patterned Milk Pitcher by Baizan-gama
It is decorated in Baizan-gama’s classic karakusa (arabesque) pattern, and as such is distinctive of the kiln’s output.
Every piece made at Baizan-gama is painted by hand, and the brush strokes here include one at the top of the handle. The others weave together in pattern and express the classic aesthetics of Tobe-ware.
The pitcher is 11cm high, and 7.5cm in diameter. The distance from the tip of the spout to the end of the handle is 8.5cm. It weighs 250g.
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.