Sabukaze Koyoseki-gun (Sabukaze Old Kiln Site Group) (寒風古窯跡群)

Sabukaze Koyoseki-gun is a group of remains of kilns of Sueki (unglazed ware) in Nagahama, Ushimado-cho, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture. They are national historic sites.

Summary

The city of Setouchi is dotted with the kiln sites of Sueki from the Kofun period to the Heian period, and they are called 'Oku koyoseki-gun' (Oku old kiln site group), which was the largest place of production of Sueki in the Chugoku and Shikoku region. It is said that this Sueki has been developed into Bizen ware.

Among Oku Koyoseki-gun, Sabukaze Koyoseki-gun is located in the southernmost area, and is the largest group. It is located on the southwest slopes of the hills which are 50 - 60 meters above sea level. Unglazed ware was produced there for about 100 years mainly in the Asuka period of the seventh century.

In the early Showa period, a local history researcher and local resident, Mokusui TOKIZANE collected a large quantity of Sueki around the remains and published the research paper on them, with the result that it has gotten recognized that the remains are here. In 1978, the magnetic survey and trench survey of the remains were carried out. On February 5, 1986, it was designated as a national historic site. In order to preserve the remains and open them to the public, Setouchi City Board of Education carried out the excavation, recognition and research from 2005 through to 2008.

The remains contain the first kiln, the second kiln and the third kiln. Three kiln sites have been recognized in the first kiln, and so at present five kiln sites in total have been recognized through to the third kiln.

Sueki which were fired in these kilns were mainly gai (a lid), tsuki (a drinking cup), takatsuki (a standing tray for cake and fruit), hiraka (a flattened bottle), sara (a dish), kame (an earthware pot), hatch (a bowl), and so on. What is more, to name special things, tokan (ceramic coffin), shibi (ornamental ridge-end tile) with which the roof of a temple was decorated, and earthenware like a suzuri (ink stone) which was used in government offices were made, too. Because these have also been excavated from the ancient capital sites like Fujiwara-kyo (the Imperial capital of Japan for sixteen years between 694 and 710) in Nara Prefecture and the ruins in the Kinki region, these kiln sites seem to have been functioning as the official kilns as well.

Neighborhood of the Ruins

Sabukaze Togei Kaikan (Sabukaze Ceramic Art Center)
A public facility which is on the south side of the ruins. This center exhibits a part of Sueki which were collected by Mokusui TOKIZANE and artifacts which were dug up during the research. It exhibits and sells the works by the local ceramic artists. It is equipped with a kiln and runs pottery classes (subject to fees) such as tsuchi-hineri (clay kneading), e-tsuke (hand-painting), and the like. Anyone can enter the center for free.
The center is closed on Monday (if a national holiday falls on Monday, it is closed the next day.)

Sabukaze Togei Mura (Sabukaze Ceramic Art Village)
The ceramic artists of 15 houses (one is closing now) are making pottery around the remains. Most of them are producing Bizen ware, but few of them are making earthenware using yuyaku (glaze).