Japanese vintage Soma-yaki pair of double- walled teacups. Soma-yaki often called 'Ohori Soma-yaki', Ohari being the locality of Japan where it is made. With a long history dating back to 1690, with the support of the feudal lords of the time it grew to over 100 kilns - see more deep history below-.
One of the most recognizable characteristics of Soma-yaki in addition to its double walls, green celadon crackle glaze with brown glaze on the bottom and gold highlights, it is ‘Hashirigoma ’galloping horse motif. The origin of the motif is the subject of much speculation, but there can be no doubt that it is related to Soma's long history of horse handling the ‘ma’ in Soma actually means ‘horse’. Ohori Soma ware pottery is produced in Fukushima Prefecture Futaba-gun, Namie-machi amd the locality of Ohori.
On this pair, one gold horse is painted on the outside top border and one is painted on the inside, the trademark of Soma-yaki. Hearts are cut into the double wall and highlighted in gold. The double wall border is another unique thing about Soma. Both teacups are signed on the original bottom inside the wall with the Soma-yaki mark or '相馬 Sōma' and the often seen mountain in the background.
As well as adding an interesting dimension, the double wall feature also has the added advantage of keeping the tea warm while leaving the outer surface cool. ‘Aohibi’ is the name given to the distinctive blue crackled glaze seen on most Somayaki ware. A combination of these three distinctive features combines to create warm, rustic pieces imbued with a sense of history and peculiar to the area in which they are produced.
Please excuse my pictures which do not do this beautiful pair justice. They are in excellent condition with no chips or cracks perhaps some vintage surface wear.
They date to the mid to late Showa period or post WWII Showa period.
Sizes: Height 3inches or 7.62 cm, Diameter 2 5/8 inches or 6.67 cm. Weight 0.4 oz. each
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Soma actually means ‘horse’. Over 1,000 years ago, horses were used as a form of martial training. Warriors were prepared for battle by trying to wrestle sacred banners from the backs of wild horses. This tradition is re-enacted during the ‘Soma-nomaoi’ festival held every July, drawing many visitors to the area. The galloping horse motif is painted on Somayaki following the tradition of the Kano School of Painting, one of the most prominent and respected schools of art in Japan.
Soma-yaki was established in 1690 in Fukushima, Northern Japan. During the Edo period, it enjoyed the protection of the Soma lords and grew to over 100 kilns, making it one of the biggest and most important potteries in Northern Japan. However with the advent of the Meiji restoration, the influence of the lords declined and the number of kilns gradually decreased to the 27 still in production today. Soma-yaki is proud of its history and draws from 300 years of tradition to create distinctive, unique pieces popular with collectors everywhere.
from: Yoshikawa Toki Company's Artistic Nippon one dealer of Soma Yaki. News Excerpts:
Over the course of years since the tsunami:
News at time of the earthquake and tsunami which hit the Eastern coast of Japan caused considerable damage to certain parts of Fukushima prefecture:
The Sue family who produce Soma-yaki items for our site are still unable to return to their home village of Namie. Therefore, Mr. Sue has started the process of setting up his own kiln in the city of Nihon Matsu (in the middle of Fukushima prefecture. As his staff are scattered around the country and there is no clear date for their return, the kiln's output cannot return to its former level. More recently, Mr. Sue One of their main potters passed away in 2013 never able to return to his home town. But now, many have returned home and Fukushima is once safe again!