Let me introduce you to a Japanese pottery technique called Neriage.
About Neriage and Nerikomi Techniques
Neriage pottery is a decorative technique in pottery where patterned clay made from mixing and layering different colored or shaded clays is used to form pottery through shaping and firing. The term "neriage" is derived from the Japanese words "ne-ru" meaning "to knead" and "a-geru" meaning "to raise up" and is pronounced as "Ne-Ri-Ah-Gey".
Neriage is typically used for forming pottery on a potter's wheel, while hand building or slab building techniques are used for Nerikomi pottery. The technique is similar to Agateware and Marbled Ware in Western pottery.
History of Neriage Pottery
Although known as a Japanese pottery technique today, the history of Neriage dates back to ancient Egypt, spread to China in the 7th century, and then to Korea in the 12th century. In Japan, the first Neriage pottery is said to be the Shino ware from the Momoyama period (1568-1603).
Since then, the technique has been researched and inherited as a traditional art form in Japan. Matsui Yasunari (1927-2003), a Living National Treasure, is known as the most skilled Neriage potter in Japan.
Features of Neriage Pottery
Neriage/Nerikomi pottery can produce a wide variety of patterns in addition to spiral patterns like marbled ware, and each piece is entirely unique. Stripe patterns, checkerboard patterns, and floral patterns are just a few examples, and each artist has their own specialty. The colors and patterns are created by the artist's hands, and no two pieces are identical, making Neriage pottery highly valued by collectors and art lovers.
Neriage is a labor-intensive process that requires patience and effort, and there are currently no factory-produced items. To achieve the desired colors and patterns, the clay must be carefully mixed, and the surface must be sanded with sandpaper to reveal the pattern clearly, resulting in a highly detailed and intricate piece.