Oribe Glazes

The color “Oribe” is a type of Japanese ceramic glaze in blue and/or green. It first appeared during the Keicho and Genna Eras (1596-1624). The name Oribe is derived from Furuta Oribe, a pupil of Sen no Rikyu, under whose guidance it was first produced. The color was originally used for serving food and drinking tea objects.

Oribe glazed Koyo water basins, Koyo Collection

Oribe glaze test tiles from the Koyo Kiln

Glazed container from the private Koyo Collection

Small glazed containers from the Koyo showroom

Most ceramic bonsai container artists in Japan, have their own distinctive variation of the Oribe glaze. One of my favorite ceramic artists is Kouichirou Aiba who specializes in Oribe glazed bonsai containers. His grandfather established a kiln specializing in pots for plants and tableware and Aiba established his Koyo To-en Kiln in 1969 in Tokoname Japan. Kouichirou Aiba’s (1944-2021) son Kuniaki Aiba continues with his father’s excellence under the name Koyo Juko. Kouso Aiba, Kouichiro’s wife also makes smaller containers for bonsai and kusamono.

Name card of Juko Koyo featuring oribe glaze

Mr. Kouichirou Aiba

Many Oribe glazed containers can be seen in my bonsai collection, since I specialize in deciduous, forest and unusual bonsai. Many different artists are represented in my bonsai collection. I personally like how the bright blue/green colors contrast well with spring, autumn and summer foliage. Some have asked me if I’m tired of Oribe containers. But I see something different in each containers because each glaze is unique. However, it is sometimes difficult to compose a bonsai display with many of the same colors. This is especially difficult when creating a shohin bonsai composition. But I have several different color containers for the same tree. I have 12 containers all of different colors for one Maple, some, however are unglazed for winter display.

Washington hawthorn, Koyo container

Deshojo Japanese maple, Koyo container

Koto Hime Japanese maple, Koyo container

Shishigashira Japanese maple, Koyo container

Shishigashira Japanese maple, Reiho container

Dwarf contort Bradford pear, Reiho container

Kiyo Hime Japanese maple, Reiho container

Full Moon maple, Reiho container

Full Moon maple, Suishouen Heikisui container

Yesterday, Diane and I were furniture shopping to fill our empty home which suffered another house fire on September 24, 2022. Having lived in hotels since September, we are anxious to return to a more normal life. As we were walking around I noticed a large painting which reminded me of the Oribe glaze created by the Koyo Kiln. The large painting will be hung behind a sofa, whenever we can move back home.

Painting for new Valavanis home

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