Iga is unglazed, high-fired ware that first appeared in the 16th century in Iga (Mie Prefecture).
The Iga kilns are said to have been established during the Keicho Era (1596-1615) under the guidance of the Tsutsui and later the Toda daimyo families, with the most famous kilns being the Makiyama and Marubashira.
Characteristic features of Iga Ware are scorch markings (koge) and a natural flowing vitrified glaze (biidoro - after the Portuguese word for glass vidoro) which sometimes stops to form a globule called a "dragonfly eye." For examples of koge and biidoro, please click here.
Iga ware is fired not far from its more famous neighbor Shigaraki. These two medieval kiln centers have much in common, including pitted bodies and natural ash glazes. Yet, where Shigaraki has quite a few dozen potters and an internationally known museum, Iga has only a handful of potters and no famous anything, other than the only thing that matters: magnificent pots.
Pottery centers throughout Mie Prefecture produce Banko-yaki, used mostly as tableware, and Iga-yaki, used as ornamental pots and vases.
Fujioka Shuhei, last by