Iga ware, or Iga-yaki is a style of pottery produce in the city of Iga, in the Mie prefecture. It is made from local red clay and red at high temperatures, causing it to crystallize in a reddish hue with unique brown-grey burn marks, caused by log ashes and the melting effect of its vidro,
a feldspathic glass that is mixed into the clay. In ancient times, the Iga province was completely submerged under Biwa Lake. Accordingly, there is a rich amount of plankton, and other organic matter, within the clay. When the clay is red, they evaporate and create tiny holes in the ware, which helps to preserve the heat of the vessel, and also creates a unique texture.
This rough and coarse texture is a signature characteristic of the Iga clay. Even experienced potters have a hard time handling the material, and so production is extremely limited. Every piece is unique, with slight differences created by the changing conditions of the Iga-yaki kilns from season to season, and the different plac- ings of the bowls when ring. The Iga ware is finished with locally sourced glazes, to produce unique and interesting results. Matsubai is a light, sage green glaze that uses only red pine tree ashes. It requires an extremely high temperature to burn, and as a result, the Matsubai pieces become very hard and sturdy.