THE rice bowl is designed with human hand in mind: the 12 centimeter diameter of the rice bowl is derived from the average diameter of a Japanese person’s hand when a half-circle is made with the thumb and pointing finger. In other words, it is the perfect size that naturally fits a hand.
The height is set at half the diameter, which is 6 centimeters, as the ratio between the pointing finger and thumb is said to be exactly 2:1.
Once the shape is defined, THE rice bowl is made in five different regions of Japan that are known for their distinct pottery styles, in order to offer a comprehensive view on Japanese pottery's various expressions: the styles include Arita (Saga Prefecture), Kiyomizu (Kyoto Prefecture), Shigaraki (Shiga Prefecture), Seto (Aichi Prefecture), and Mashiko (Tochigi Prefecture).
To enhance and emphasize the characteristics of each style, the clay, glaze, and finish are all white-colored.
KIYOMIZU (Kyoto Prefecture)
Legend has it that the name of this type of ceramic is due to the fact that the first furnaces to have made it in the 16th century were located in the district of Gojōzaka, not far from the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto, still a pilgrimage destination from all over the Japan.
Its particularity, rather than local materials, is given by the pioneering techniques on which the design and enamelling are based, developed by legendary masters of the caliber of Ninsei Nonomura and Kenzan Ogata.
Therefore, the bowl is finished with white liquid clay (so-called slip), otherwise called "engobe" in Japanese, which has always been used in Kiyomizu ceramic both as a stand-alone finish and as a primer to layer other colors.