Seto ware

Kiseto water jar, clay covered with glaze and iron-brown splashes and black lacquer cover, Momoyama or Edo period, 17th century
Stoneware tea caddy with wood-ash and iron glazes, Edo period, early 19th century

Seto ware (瀬戸焼 Seto-yaki) refers to a type of Japanese pottery, stoneware, and ceramics produced in and around the village of Seto in Aichi Prefecture, Japan.[1] The Japanese term for it, setomono, is also used as a generic term for all pottery.[2] Seto was the location of one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan.[3]


Pottery made in Seto dates back to the 13th century. Katō Shirōzaemon is credited as the first to produce wares in the town. In the 1220s he studied the art of pottery in China. After several failed attempts in various Japanese towns, Shirōzaemon founded a successful kiln at Seto.[4] Other potters followed thereafter and Seto became a renowned center for ceramic production.

Potters drew inspiration from Chinese ceramics, including green celadon porcelains and dark brown tenmoku wares. The earliest Seto ceramics may have evolved from failed attempts to reproduce Chinese celadons.

During the Kamakura period, wares produced in Seto imitated the pottery of the Song Dynasty in China.[5] Later, in the Muromachi period (1337–1573), Seto glazes were refined and the styles developed there spread to other areas in Japan such as modern Gifu Prefecture.

Later Seto wares were given a brown iron glaze and fired at high temperatures to create glossy surfaces.

During the Kan'ei era (1624–44), the first lord of Owari Tokugawa Yoshinao (1601–1650) had a kiln constructed at the corner of the Ofuke enceinte (Ofukemaru) of Nagoya Castle and invited potters from Seto to make pottery there.

The Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum in Seto has a large and exemplary collection of Seto ware.


The different types and glazes of Seto ware are:

See also


  1. Wolf, Martin L. (1951). Dictionary of the Arts. New York: Philosophical Library. p. 633.
  2. Munsterberg, Hugo (1964). The Ceramic Art of Japan: A Handbook for Collectors. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Publishing. p. 633.
  3. "Japanese Pottery". Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  4. Franks, Augustus (1880). Japanese Pottery: A Native Report. London: Chapman and Hill. pp. 28–9.
  5. "Seto ware mizusashi (water jar)". The British Museum. Retrieved 30 December 2012.

Further reading

Media related to Seto ware at Wikimedia Commons

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