Handmade and wood fired Bizen ware soba choko (そば猪口). is a traditional small cup, used for dipping soba noodles. They can, however, also be used as large sake cups, or tea cups. Bizen ware has a natural, earthy look created by wood firing, smoke and wood ash, and it is said the unglazed texture means that vessels become imbued with flavour over time.
It is made by Takaaki Owashi and his father at their studio Wasyugama. They fire their wares in a climbing kiln with wood over a period of eight days and also offer pottery classes and accommodation to visitors. The Bizen clay is harvested locally, before being prepared and kneaded, with shaping of each piece done by hand. The sake cup is rough at first, but will become smoother with continuous use.
Please note: the piece pictured is a representative example. Since each piece is handmade, the ones you receive will be the same design and shape, but will not look exactly like the one pictured. Each piece is unique, with variations in the patterns and colouring.
Dimensions: Approximately 6.8cm in diameter x 9.2cm in height
Bizen ware is a style of pottery associated with the oldest of Japan's Six Ancient Kilns. Originating in the old Bizen Province, currently Okayama Prefecture, Bizen ware pieces have a distinctive, unglazed red to dark brown colour and often multiple markings from the different firing techniques.
Due to shrinkage of the clay used when fired, it is not glazed and therefore fired over a long period to allow for the change in size. By applying a variety of firing techniques, including binding pieces with straw, marks and patterns are applied and wood ash sometimes creates glazing effects.