Ohori Soma ware is the generic name of pottery produced from the beginning of the Edo Period for 300 years in Ooaza Ohori Ichien, Namie Town, Futaba District in the Fukushima Prefecture.
Although it was called Soma ware during the old Edo era, the place of production “Ohori” was added to the name after it was specified as a national traditional craft, establishing the widely known name Ohori Soma ware.
The making of Ohori Soma ware began during the Edo period when Kyukan Hantani from the Nakamura Domain discovered pottery in Ohori (Namie Town, Ohori) and ordered his servant Hidari-uma to bake pottery for daily use.
In order to preserve the tradition of Soma Nomaoi, the Nakamura Domain incorporated the family crest of the local lord Soma for the filler and running pieces, which became known as an item of good luck.
While the Soma Komaware around the Nakamura Castle was familiar as a gift toward local lord Soma, the Ohori Somaware was long used for daily purposes.
The Soma Domain aimed to make the pottery their specialty, establishing the Seto City Hall to gain financial assistance, securing raw materials and to create protection and enhancement. Because of this, the Ohori pottery industry spread as a side job for farmers in the neighboring town of Hakka.
By the end of the Edo period, over 100kilns were established with a distribution route that stretched from Hokkaido to Kanto and the Shinshu Echigo region and evolved into a major production center.
After the abolition of clans and the establishment of prefectures in the Meiji period until the ceasefire of the Pacific, the Ohori Soma ware development ceased due to the lack of aid from the clan, the increase in competition due to the development of transportation and large damage from war.
However, after the war, the production areas began cooperating to export to the United States. In 2011, due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, potters had no choice but to stop production. However, with “design” and “global” at its axis, Ohori Somaware is making a big comeback.
The “horse god” of the old Soma clan, also known as “Hidari-uma”, is drawn. It has been popular in the region as a good omen from the saying “there is nothing coming out from the right”. This “running piece” of the Soma clan horse god is drawn with the Kano school style with skillful hand-painted brush strokes.
The “blue crack” along with the Kannyuon is spread out on the entire vessel. Chosen as one of the “30 Sounds of Utsukushima”, the differences in the shrinkage of the Kannyuuon material and glaze when fired creates the fine cracks. This is called Kannnyuuon. The “blue crack” base design of the Ohori Soma ware is created by the Kannyuuon.
The double layering structure is incorporated. Hot water will cool slower, but the surface will not be hot and can be held.
2014 is the year of the horse. The “Hashirigoma (galloping horse motif)” of the Ohori Soma ware always faces left, “Hidari-uma”, because of the saying “there is nothing coming out from the right side” and has been familiarized in the region as good luck. This picture of a horse full of speed, like it would just gallop out, is carved with great strength in the pottery. Without sticking to the conventional hand-drawn horse painting, the “horse” should be expressed through new ideas and sensibility. This was the purpose for beginning the project. The theme is “Horses that Run to Tomorrow”. Based on this theme, creators that are active in various fields have given birth to their own “horse” on behalf of the 300years of cultivating this tradition. 2014 is the year of the horse. As this year comes only once in twelve years, the 10horses that dwell in the Ohori Soma ware will cheerfully scamper all around Japan and the world in 2014.
[ Details of the Project ]
Ten creators active in different fields drew the “horse” on the Ohori Soma ware pottery. The designed cup will be sold in select shops and online shopping with limited distribution. The 9.19% of the proceeds will be donated to Ohori Soma ware.
※ 9.19%of the product price will be devoted to the following Ohori Soma ware related funds.
- Donation to the new challenges of potters (market development, new product development, capital investment for new technology)
- Donations for equipment to potters who would like to receive public subsidies but is prohibited due to regional restrictions
- Donations to activities that provide a positive impact for Ohori Soma ware as a whole such as the “Ohori Soma ware Pottery City”
[ Project Menbers ]
The Sponser: Gatch Inc.
Co-production: Ohori Soma Ware Matsunaga Kiln
Cooperation in Planning: Denko Corp. & Terauchi Yumi Design Office Co.Ltd.
[ Support Members ]
Product Photographer: Takashi Naitoh
Studio Photographer: Ryo Asuma
Web Design: Cicata Inc.
Web Coder: Yoshihiro Takahashi
Cooperative Incubation: ETIC Nonprofit Organization
Human Resource Cooperation: Innovation Tohoku presented by Google
[ Sale Stores ]
Mitsukoshi Ginza 8F Japan-Edition
ISETAN Shinjuku 5F Belecrin
<Part of Products>
J-PERIOD Omote-sando Hills Store・ Umeda Store・ Kyoto Fujii Daimaru Store
BALS TOKYO SHINJUKU・ NAKAMEGURO
(On sale at stores above until January)
[ Web Site ]
Firstly, when I held the pottery in my hand, I was fascinated by the “Nijyuuware” structure that characterizes Ohori Soma ware. Though simple in appearance and with practical function, this handicraft demonstrates a time-consuming process of production. I hope that these ideas and techniques will continue even in the new stage of Ohori Somaware. The design on pottery is a “running horse” symbolizing the “land of Soma”. The “mane” and the “tail” blowing in the wind depict the grass rooted in the plains.
I drew the “Hashirigoma”, characteristic of the Ohori Soma ware, with the hopes for earthquake relief in the region. The large horse represents the wishes of the people coming together and flying in the same direction.
TRY FUTURE A running red horse who has seen the present and past galloping into the future. Creating a theme by combining traditional beauty, avant-garde and different aspects of culture, I depicted this one horse filling it with energy, courage and futurity. This daringly large horse that protrudes from the pottery shows energy. The passionate red color demonstrates courage. And each gently depicted star illustrates the future. I used red glaze used in porcelain, which I think highly of, to create a modern design that transcends across thousands of years in time.
Which part shows the horse’s best assets? I personally chose the tail full of ballottement and the muscles which display strength and flexibility at the same time. By deforming one part and not showing the whole horse, leaving blank space, I hope many lively horses will be born from the imagination of the observers.
A black bear rides a black horse
Racing through the prairie
When spring comes, this prairie,
Will be filled with white flowers
A black bear rides a black horse
Racing through the prairie
When summer comes, this prairie,
Will be filled with yellow flowers
The seasons change along with the black horse
With sayings such as “Things will go well” “Good luck will gallop your way”, the horse is known for good fortune. The beautiful form of a lively horse galloping dynamically leftward is expressed graphically. Galloping with a big big dream… “Run to the future” these are the feelings depicted in this piece.
“The Wind” is blowing
Shaking the grass and trees…
“The Horse” is standing
I tried to form this scene
Though countless problems are blowing like “wind”
The Soma “horse” stands straight
“一期一会 (Ichigoichie)” Once-in-a-lifetime
Thinking this is the last time
Thinking this is the beginning
I expressed a horse starting to run in a one-stroke sketch.
The three hooves, which I drew on the inner part of the pottery, are considered to have as much good luck as clovers and ladybugs in Europe and was drawn with a wish that good fortune would come to everyone.
A horse that stands in the wind and grass and trees growing powerfully. The gold line that surfaces among the soft green. On the neck of the horse, standing dignified and looking far ahead, is a comical bow tie. Precious memories, which are essential when looking toward the future and moving forward, will multiple. May a gentle wind blow when you are in deep thought, remembering your memories.
When aiming for a far future,
Or leaving a deep mark in history,
We can only take one step at a time.
Those one steps may be small.
But we can move forward that distance of one step.
Let’s start walking.
Those footsteps will give us courage.
Co-author of "Toshi Mokuzai no Vision to Gijyutsu".