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Ayatakado Readings

Katauchi: a surviving technique

11 July 2015

 “It's a pity that this technique is being lost.” This is what Miyagoshi Tokuji always says.

“This technique” he mentions is a pottery forming technique called “katauchi”. Katauchi forms porcelain vessels in shapes but it is not press moulding or slip casting. The potters practising katauchi throw pots on the wheel first and then form them in shapes using drape moulds. Miyagoshi is one of few potters who can practise katauchi technique handed down in Kutani ware tradition. Katauchi used to be commonly practised not only Kutani but many ceramic production sites all over Japan. Now the technique is being lost.

 Because of its throwing process, katauchi takes much labour and time comparing to press moulding and slip casting. It also requires precise throwing skills so that thrown bowls and dishes are fit on drape moulds. From the beginning of modern era onward, time consuming and experience requiring katauchi has been being replaced with mass production using press moulding and slip casting that saves time and cost. Now, not many potters who practise katauchi remain.

 Carefully thrown by hand and formed without using machines to apply pressure, katauchi porcelain tableware is light-weight and has elegantly shaped thin body.

 People's eating habits change tableware overtime. Traditional Japanese tableware is small in size as small portions are typically served in small bowls and dishes. To make katauchi tradition survive on modern tables, Miyagoshi Tokuji creates larger porcelain tableware on which non-Japanese food can be served as well as traditional tableware good in size for having authentic Japanese food.

See Miyagoshi Tokuji's works:

See also how he practices “katauchi”: