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Banko_Yaki_Making

Banko Ware

Fine crafted earthenware tea pots

Banko Ware is a high-quality craft that requires a lot of craftsmanship and is therefore getting increasingly rare. Among 1300 potters working to preserve the art, there are said to be only 22 government recognized Banko master craftsmen left. 

Banko Ware is a type of Japanese pottery that originated in the ‘Mie’ prefecture in Central Japan. Mainly existing out of tea pots and hot pots, the art dates back almost 270 years. It was first created by a wealthy merchant called ‘Nunami Rouzan’, in the mid-18th century. He had a passion for ‘the way of the tea’ and created his own pottery to use for the teas. When others started to notice his creations, Banko ware was officially born. The name is derived from the phrase ‘Bankofueki’, which he would stamp on all his creations, meaning ‘eternity constancy’. With this, he hoped that his creations would be enjoyed for many generations to come. The art became popular long after his time. It is sometimes called ‘Yokkaichi Banko Yaki’ with ‘yaki’ meaning ceramics and Yokkaichi being the city inside Mie prefecture that produces about 70-80% of all Banko Yaki in Japan. It was designated as a traditional craft work and became an export commodity in the 19th century.

The characteristic dark, rusty color of Banko ware is created with a special iron-red and yellow clay blend, and a unique firing process.

It results in beautiful colors, varying slightly based on the level of oxygen and combustion temperature. While the clay is still wet, the craftsman will create decorations where desired, each in their own style. 

They are then left as is, without a top coat, as the oil from your skin will actually aid the product’s beauty and longevity.   

Bako_Yaki_Forming
Banko_Yaki_Teapot

Nowadays, the craft is especially applied with teapots, tea cups, sake cups, serving bottles, vases, plates and ornaments. 

The craft remains ideal for tea products due to their simplicity, yet ideal design. They are light, due to a specific technique, rolling the clay thinly and stretching it out over wood to create sturdy, but light material. 

Furthermore, the oil from your hands combined with the tannin released by tea leaves actually enhances the material of the pots, giving it a beautiful sheen, the more gets is used. 

Cheap, mass-produced tea pots often have a few flaws in common. Even when using high-quality tea leaves you will notice they don’t smell as strong when in the pot, they will all stack up and block the water when you want to pour your tea, and you often can’t lift the lid up as it formed vacuum by the hot air. 

With a carefully designed Banko ware tea pot you will easily notice the difference. The circular shape of the teapot, along with the material and lacquered inside allow the tea leaves to circulate much better, creating an intense, pure aroma. 

The pots have exactly one-hundred small holes in the lid which allows for the circulation of hot air and avoids your lid from being stuck. Furthermore, these holes keep the tea leaves in place, while the hot tea water is easily poured into your cup. The spout of the pot is V-shaped, making it easy to pour without overflowing. The coated inside makes the pot very easy to clean with just water, and the natural materials of the pot are said to enhance not only the smell, but also the flavor of the tea. 

The small, characteristic holes are all hand-made, and it is said there are only 3 craftsmen left who completely master this skill. The amount and design of the holes have taken a lot of trial and error, and it is said that this number perfectly enhances the tea flavor en ease of use. Completing a tea pot takes approximately 3-4 weeks.

3 Item(s)

  • Fujiso Banko Ware Black Tea Pot

    Regular Price:

    $54.21

    This pot for black tea has a very modern design and simultaneously respects the centuries-old tradition of Fujisō Banko Earthen Ware. The pot is taller than usual, allowing for the black tea leaves to “jump” up and down in the hot water, slowly releasing their intense flavor. The inside is coated with a special transparent glaze that prevents the leaves from sticking to the pot. The glaze also adds to the beauty of the pot, as the fine vein-like cracks, barely visible in the beginning, become more  and more intense over time, creating an intricate pattern of elegant lines.

    The outside of the pot has the distinctive brown reddish tinge that is characteristic for Fujisō ceramic and that makes the pot a beautiful object in itself. The earth color and the powerful flavor of the leaves create a very special atmosphere when serving tea from this pot. 

    The part of the rim near the spout has more than one hundred small holes, all carefully made by hand. The holes hold back even the smallest leaves in the pot, while allowing for the tea to be poured easily. Also, the beautiful curved handle at the back has a small flat spot at the top where you can place your finger when holding the pot and this way get a better grip even when the pot is full an heavy.
  • Green Tea Cup Made of Banko Earthenware

    Regular Price:

    $10.04

    This elegant cup is hand-made with the traditional style and technique of the Fujisō Banko tea pots. It is made from a special kind of clay that also contains iron. therefore, when baked, the cup acquires the wonderful reddish brown color which is characteristic for all Fujisō ware. The cup is carefully designed so as to be easy to hold with one hand. 

    The inside is covered with a transparent glaze that enhances the fine grain of the ceramic. At the same time, the special glaze ensures that the delicate flavor of the tea is not affected in any way. It is perfect for enjoying Japanese green tea. 

    Due to its simple design and subdued earth colors, it is a beautiful object that brings a subtle touch of finesse to a pleasant afternoon with family and friends. The price is for one cup.

  • Fujiso Banko Ware Sencha Tea Pot

    Starting at: $45.18

    More than a simple piece of ceramic, this tea pot is a wonderful living object that becomes increasingly beautiful with the passage of time. The tea and the natural oil of your hands will allow the pot to become more shiny over the years. Moreover, the special glaze on the inside of the pot has very small cracks, like fine veins, which gradually become more visible and create an interesting pattern that adds to the beauty of the pot.

3 Item(s)