About Akahadayama Motogama Preservation Society.
Gyozo Noriko Furuse (The Cultural Heritage Manager of Akahadayama Motogama) established Preservation Society of Akahadayama Motogama in 2014. This Society manages the historical buildings and materials of Akahadayama Motogama pottery.
Gyozo Noriko Furuse has been concerned about the state of the cultural properties of Akakhadayama Motogama for a number of years since she succeeded the title of 8th generation Gyozo. In Particular the deterioration of the largest and oldest Noborigama (Wood fired claiming kiln, circa Edo period) which was last used in 1970's, was rapid. She voiced the urgency to restore and preserve these cultural properties for the sake of the next generation.
With the help of Nara City Government authorities, she successfully lobbied the Japanese Cultural Affairs Department to recognise the three structures as Tangible Cultural Properties in 2007. Since then the large old wood firing kiln was studied by university scholars and the deterioration was found to be serious and it warranted urgent restoration. In August 2015, the process of disassembling the large wood firing kiln began. This marked the beginning of the Project to Revitalize the Local Community by Using Cultural Heritage outlined by the policy of Japanese Cultural Affairs' Department.
About Tangible Cultural Properties at Akahadayama Motogama
In 2007, under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, the Cultural Affairs Department of the Japanese National Government announced that three architectural structures at Akahadayama Motogama (Historical Akahada Pottery), owned by 8th generation Gyozo Noriko Furuse, were recognized as Registered Tangible Cultural Properties. This means that these structures are now officially recognized as properties that hold historical and cultural significance by the Japanese Government. The registered structures are a large-scale wood-firing kiln (Edo period), a medium scale wood firing kiln (early Shouwa period), the showroom (Meiji period) and the old workshop. It was also found that the showroom was built through western structural methods in the Meiji period. Also it is rare to find three different sizes of climbing wood fire kilns in one location in Japan. It is particularly interesting that the scale of kiln decreases as time passes by.
History of AKAHADAYAMA MOTOGAMA
Akahada-yaki is probably the most famous traditional folk art in Nara .
The whole Akahada area has a large deposit of high quality clay which contains a considerable amount of red iron oxide.
“Akahada-yama” literally means “mountain of red clay showing on the surface of a hill”. According to ancient texts, the red hillside of Akahada-yama could be seen from The Heijo, which was the capital of Japan approximately 1300 years ago. Several ceramic utensils from the ruins of former Imperial Heijokyu (Heijo Palace) were an exact match to ones that were found in the Akahada area.
The documented history of Akahada-yaki begins in 1573.
The Lord of Kouriyama Castle, Hidenaga Toyotomi (Hideyoshi Toyotomi's younger brother) invited Yokuro, a master potter from Tokoname Pottery to start producing pottery to cater for the needs of tea ceremonies.
In 1781, Koriyama Castle, and was granted the stamp of Akahada which is used to this day by the Furuse family. It enabled the head of the family to use the name Gyozo as named after the Lord who granted it.
Akhada Pottery has separated into three locations: the West, the Middle and the East. The Furuse family had operated in the Middle for eight generations, pioneered by Jihei Furuse, a notable potter from Kyoto. He was appointed to the kiln by Gyozan Yanagisawa, the Lord of
Mokuhaku Okuda, a wealthy and talented merchant, also a notable tea master of the nearby city of Koriyama, worked in the Akahada kiln in the mid 1800's. His work involved various utensils and tea ceremony installments. The quality of his work and his market skills made Akahada-yaki widely known. The press moulds he designed and made are still in the Furuse family's possession.
The 7th generation Gyozo Ｔａｋａｓｈｉ Furuse has made pottery and managed the kiln on the original site for decades. He was a graduate of Kyoto City University of the Arts (1959). Exposed to modern technology and ideas, he was able to infuse these inspirations with family traditions into his own unique creations. The simplicity of form is complemented with a highly traditional rice straw ash glaze and firing in a traditional Noborigama (wood fired climbing kiln). The resulting pieces have themselves a timeless, subtle and uniquely indefinable beauty enjoyed and admired by those fortunate enough to experience them. Gyozo Furuse’s masterpieces are not considered so through showiness. They rather follow the philosophy of Wabi Sabi, having made everyday wares with the utmost of care. His tea ceremony installments are the epitome of the subtle beauty and calmness. Currently the 8th generation Gyozo Noriko Furuse, trained in Sydney University as a ceramicist, is carrying out the family traditions and preceding generations' works.
赤膚山元窯 古瀬堯三 中の窯 治兵衛