Swanica explores Japan

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A noborigama is a multi-chambered climbing kiln built on a slope. Each succeeding chamber is situated higher than the one before it. The chambers in a noborigama are pierced at intervals with stoking ports.
Climbing kilns have been used in Japan since the 17th century.
The main advantage of climbing kilns is that the heat from the burning wood is re-used, the same heat heating more than one part of the kiln, preheats the chambers above. In addition, the cooling ware and walls below preheat the incoming air. Thus, firing of ware in the upper chambers requires only the additional fuel needed to bring the ware, walls and air to peak temperature.

It also improved productivity: ten to twenty times more pots could be created in one firing compared to the volume of the average anagama and mass production comes into favorite.
The noborigama brought a greater level of consistency for glazed ware and predictability to output.
The first 2 chambers are like an anagama, a single chambered, wood-fired kiln, which was first introduced to Japan from Korea in the fifth century. The anagama fires wood which produces fly ash, which settles on the pieces, melts and creates a natural ash glaze that cannot be achieved with any other type of firing.

This is the noborigama from Hamada Shinsaku, the son of Hamada Shoji.

This is the front chamber of the noborigama kiln of Ken Matsuzaki, a well known potter from Mashiko.

The drawings of the noborigama come from "The Japanese Pottery Handbook", written by Penny Simpson, Lucy Kitto and Kanji Sodeoka.
A very interesting site, if you would like to know more about kilns, is the e-yakimono site from Robert Yellin: http://www.e-yakimono.net/guide/html/kilns.html


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