Seto is a high-fired ware made in the Seto (Aichi Prefecture) and Mino (Gifu Prefecture) areas of Japan since the 14th century. These areas are likewise famous for their Mino Ware (shino, yellow seto, black seto, and oribe; for more on these latter styles, please explore the style listing for MINO.
"Seto" itself refers to both the city (Seto City, Aichi Prefecture) and the style of pottery that originated there. Seto is also one of the six old kilns of medieval Japan. Japan's first ash-glazed pieces were fired in Seto sometime in the 14th century.
Seto Sometsuke Overview
Porcelain came to Seto rather late. It first appeared in the beginning of the 19th century when Kato Tamikichi returned to Seto from Kyushu and successfully fired cobalt-decorated porcelain. This is called Seto-Sometsuke. "Sometsuke" refers to cobalt-blue underglazed ware. Tamikichi is regarded as "the father of porcelain" in the Seto region. Seto Sometsuke played an important role is Seto's ceramic history from then on until a few decades ago when it lost it's vitality. These days a group of Seto potters is trying to revive the style.
Seto at Suntory
Museum of Art (courtesy Suntory);
by Kondo Yuzo;
LEARN MORE ABOUT SETO
SOME PLACES TO START
High-fired ware made in Seto and Mino Areas
Seto Markings - Kamajirushi
Suntory Museum Exhibition
Suntory Museum Exhibition (museum's own web site)
Six Old Kilns - Click here for review by Shiho Kanzaki
Kanzaki-san has this to say about SETO:
"Seto was the only pottery center firing glazed pottery in the medieval period and in so doing, went its own way. The products of the other medieval kiln centers were of three kinds: jars, vases and bowl-shaped mortars. But the products of Seto were yellowish-green and blackish-brown glazed vases, jars and "yama jawan" (coarse bowls). The beginning of pottery making and firing in Seto is surmised to be during the 14th century. Evidence of nearly 500 kilns has been found around the base of Sanage Mountain. You can see the design of three old kilns at Aichi Kenritsu Touji Shiryoukan."