Obori-soma ware

Obori-soma ware Obori soma yaki

Simple taste and gentleness
Expression of strong individuality with blue cracks


What is Obori-soma ware ?

Obori Soma Ware is a form of ceramics and porcelain produced around the town of Namie in Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture. The main raw material in the blue porcelain enamel used in Obori Soma Ware is locally collected chamaishi grindstone.
The characteristic of Obori Soma Ware is its background pattern known as “blue cracks”. On a glassy surface tinged with the blue of celadon porcelain glaze, cracks described as “blue cracks” cover the entire vessel as a base pattern. Differences in the shrinkage factor between raw materials and enamel cause cracks known as “penetrations” to occur when baking, producing a pattern of subtle cracks. At that time, a beautiful sound described as the “penetration sound” can be heard. Also, pictures of running horses are drawn by hand using the brushing style of the Kano school to depict the sacred horses revered by the formed Soma Domain.
Obori Soma Ware vessels are “double-fired”, so their structure is such that hot water does not easily cool inside the vessel, and they can be held even when containing hot water. This technique is not seen in any other type of porcelain, and it was produced when pursuing user-friendliness for normal people.


Obori Soma Ware is said to have originated at the beginning of the Edo Period when Kyukan HANGAI, a warrior of the Nakamura Domain, discovered potter’s clay in the Obori region of what is today known as Namie, in Futaba District, and ordered his manservant, Sama, to produce vessels for daily use. While Soma Koma Ware produced beneath Nakamura Castle in what is today Nakamura, Soma City, was presented to Lord Soma, Obori Soma Ware become popular with the common people as vessels for daily use. At that time, the Nakamura Domain encouraged production of ceramics and porcelain as specialty products, and in the latter part of the Edo Period more than 100 potteries were created, most of which prospered. The market extended from Hokkaido to the whole of Kanto, or the whole of the northern provinces, and the industry underwent great expansion.
Going into the Meiji Period, the abolition of feudal domains and the introduction of prefectures led to the abolition of the Nakamura Domain, which meant that the Domain’s patronage of Obori Soma Ware disappeared, and in the Taisho Period the number of potteries dropped to 30.
War during the Showa Period caused decline, but today there are 25 potteries are enthusiastically producing articles while maintaining tradition.

General Production Process

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