Crafted by Nagatani-en Iga-ware Pottery, established in 1832, a kiln that produces an array of fun clay pots for every occasion. With “making products we truly want to use” as its motto, the company is devoted to creating objects that are in step with the times, always taking into account evolving cultural trends and lifestyles.
Iga, Rich in Clay and Forests
It is said that Iga-ware got its start in earnest during the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). The Iga region offers high-quality clay and rich red pine forests suitable for firewood. Thus abundantly blessed with clay and fuel, both indispensable components in earthenware production, Iga became know as a center of pottery production. Up until around 1965, Iga-ware was produced in an ascending kiln fueled by firewood. After 1965, there was a period when both coal and electric kilns were used, but Iga-ware is now mainly fired using a gas kiln that offers great combustibility and thermal efficiency.
Coarse Iga Clay with High Heat-Retaining Capabilities
Iga potter's clay is taken from a geological stratum called the Ancient Biwa Lake Layer, a sedimentary layer rich in the remains of plants and animals that lived 4 million years ago. When the clay is fired at a high temperature, this organic matter is burned out, leaving fine pockets in its place. The resultant highly porous material is coarse to such an extent that it is known as the “clay that breathes,” and its far-infrared rays transfer heat to the core of ingredients cooked in Iga-ware pots. Moreover, Iga clay has high heat-retaining capabilities, making it slow to cool. It retains the same temperature range of simmering at a low flame even when it is removed from the fire, drawing out food's natural umami.