Hondokameshimogama. Handokamekamigama. Two old Karatsu kilns.

A little more information on the kilns I blogged about here.

The two kiln names are, in Japanese, 飯洞甕上窯 and 飯洞甕下窯. The difference is the fourth character. The pronunciations for the two are Handokamekamigama and Handokameshimogama. The difference is the first is the “upper” or “kami” kiln and the second is the “lower” or “shimo” kiln. The upper and lower refer to time, the upper being older.

The lower kiln was thought to be the oldest for a long time but with recent activity it has been established that the upper kiln is the oldest and according to the book I am reading the oldest in Japan. I am guessing the oldest Karatsu noborigama in Japan.

The size of the lower kiln is,

Length = 19 meters.

Width = 2 meters.

Height of roof on the inside = 120 centimeters.

Slope = 17 degrees.

There are 7 rooms in the kiln.

Size of the stoking area = 22-28 cm. I am guessing this is the size of the stoking “floor” in each room.

There is a note that excluding the primary stoking area the first through fourth rooms are the same width but the width suddenly contracts in the fifth and sixth room before suddenly widening. The footprint drawing doesn’t show that but it is stated very clearly.

The height of the roof is extremely low. Most Kyoto type noborigama have a much higher roof and fire in reduction. The Karatsu kilns are very low roofed and fire best in an oxidized to slightly reducing atmosphere.  The kilns fired shino and oribe tea ware at the end of the 16th. century. I skimmed through a book awhile back that broke down the import of tea bowls into Japan from China and Korea and compared the imports with the increase of domestic production. Of course as domestic production took off the percentage of imports tailed off. I remember the time period coincided with the time frame these kilns present.

Handokamekamigama, "upper" kiln.

The top kiln is the Handokameshimogama.


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2 Responses to “Hondokameshimogama. Handokamekamigama. Two old Karatsu kilns.”

  1. Old Karatsu kilns compared to newer kilns. « Togeii's Weblog Says:

    […] ceramics, kimonos, antiques and life in a small village in Japan. « Third mixer Hondokameshimogama. Handokamekamigama. Two old Karatsu kilns. […]

  2. eric Says:

    Many thanks for the dimensions.

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