Soden Fukaumi and Hyaku Basen
<<Hyaku Basen’s Signpost>>
On this signpost is engraved the lifestory of Hyaku Basen, who was active in the establishment of Aritayaki. Though her true name is unknown, she was brought to Japan from Korea along with her husband, Soden Fukaumi, during Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s Korean Expedition (1592-1598).
They fired pottery and gave it as tribute to the local feudal lords. In year 4 of the Genna Era (1618), Soden died. Hyaku Basen continued to make pottery with her child, Hirazaemon (Sokai). Good raw materials for pottery were found in Arita, so she moved to Hiekoba in Arita with the family of an important potter.
Hyaku Basen, who was loved and respected by her family and many Korean potters, died at the age of 96 on March 10th of the second year of the Meireki Era (1656).
This sign was erected at Houon Temple in Hiekoba by Hyaku Basen’s grandson, Sosen, on the 50th anniversary of her death in year 2 of the Houei Era (1705).
In this way, Hyaku Basen served as an influential leader for important potters during the early years of the foundation of Aritayaki. Afterwards, the Fukaumi family, who were granted the right to carry swords and have a last name, prospered as potters. However, during the Meiji Restoration, the feudal lords who had been their main customers lost power and the kiln was closed.
Fukaumi Shouten was opened as a producer and manufacturer of ceramic paints by Tatsuji Fukaumi (born September 19th in year 44 of the Meiji Era). Because of the determination of our ancestors, we believe that many potters have come to love Fukaumi paints.
The following books have been written about Hyaku Basen. Unfortunately, English versions are not yet available.
<<The Ruins of the Hiekoba Kiln>>
<<The Ruins of the Mt. Tenjin Kiln>>
Hyaku Basen is considered to be one of the people who built the foundations of Aritayaki and the Hiekoba Kiln. Though Hyaku Basen died in year 2 of the Meireki Era (1656), her story is recorded on a sign within the grounds of Houon Temple. Though they were rebuilt many times, the kilns at Hiekoba and Mt. Tenjin were used throughout the Edo Period.
Also, at this time, the grandchildren of Sanpei Kanagae (Sanpei Li), one of the founders of Aritayaki, moved to Shirakawa to carry on their family tradition as potters.
The ruins of Hiekoba Kiln, a climbing kiln from the 17th century, were discovered during a survey in 1985. The exact dimensions are not known because the survey did not include an archaeological excavation, but the kiln is thought to have been 3.2 meters wide and 3.18 meters deep.
Mt. Tenjin kiln was discovered in 1990 during an excavation, though only discarded pottery, and not the climbing kiln itself, was discovered. Unfortunately, it seems that the kiln was destroyed at some point before the excavation took place. The excavated pottery dated from the years 1630 to 1660. Because of this, they are considered to represent early Imari pottery as well as pottery intended for foreign exportation. Though the majority of the pieces were hard-paste porcelain, a few examples of soft-paste porcelain were also discovered. Soft-paste porcelain cups, bowls, and plates were found, along with several bottles, incense burners, and small cups.