Tougen Tokoname Chawan

Potter: Tokoname craftsman Tougen

Approximate size: W4.3″ by H3.1″ or 10.8 by 7.9cm

This is a dynamic chawan by (retired), Tokoname craftsman Tsuzuki Hisashi (1939-), who’s artist name was Tougen. Half cylinder shape where the exterior has been sculpted to appear like tree roots, going over and under. The inside has been made smooth by use of a piece of leather. Most likely fired in one of the many climbing kilns of Tokoname. This type of clay is called shudei and is one of the hallmarks of Tokoname pottery.

Pottery made in Tokoname dates back to the 12th century. During the Heian period, what is now called Tokoname ware was already part of daily life. A kiln known as the Takasaka kiln was built in the 14th century. Towards the end of the Edo period in the late 19th century, Koie Hokyu completed a chambered “climbing kiln” (nobori-gama). The excellent reputation of modern Tokoname ware was established by his son Koie Hoju. He laid the foundations for earthenware pipe making and introduced the red ware for which the town became renowned. A statue was later put up in his honor in the town.

Tokoname yaki is famous for its unglazed wares and clay kyusu or tea-pots are the prime examples of its craftsmanship.

About 60 climbing kilns formerly operated in Tokoname. The Tōei Kiln (陶栄窯), is a climbing kiln (nobori-gama), that was constructed in Meiji 20 (1887), and used until Shōwa 49 (1974). It is the largest climbing kiln existing in Japan. It has eight firing chambers running at a 17° incline and ten chimneys of varying height. It was designated as an Important Tangible Cultural Property by the government in Shōwa 57 (1982).

The chawan has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. Comes with the original quality paulownia wooden box with kiln stamp and calligraphy on the lid.


Thank you very much!


1 The kiln opening or door is about 75 centimeters or 30 inches wide
2 Firebox
3 Stacking floor made of silica sand
4 Dampers
5 Flue
6 Chimney
7 Refractory arch