Heiseikan Japanese Archaeology Gallery
March 7, 2017 (Tue) - September 24, 2017 (Sun)
Two types of pottery existed in the Kofun period: red haji ware, which was fired in open pits like the Yayoi pottery of the previous period, and sue ware, which was created using new techniques. Sue ware included urns, pots, and flasks for storage; bowls, pots with openings for pouring, and footed jars for offerings; and unique decorated vessels. It was fired at over 1,000 °C in kilns that were dug into slopes and covered with clay. Reduction firing, in which the kiln is sealed to keep oxygen at a minimum, made sue ware hard and durable, as well as giving it a blue color. This technique originated in China’s gray pottery and was later introduced from Korea to Japan, where local production began in the 5th century.
At the Suemura site in present-day Osaka in particular, many kilns were in operation until the Heian period (794–1192). From the late 5th century, sue ware kilns were built in various regions of Japan, and the pottery they produced was also placed in burial mounds with the deceased. Even after the Nara and Heian periods, sue ware was used at temples and government offices. The techniques for making it were later used to create new types of pottery.