Narikawa Pottery

A beautiful earthenware from Prehistoric and Ancient South Japan


Heidelberg University (Homepage)


February 4, 2022


March 2, 2022

Narikawa pottery as an earthenware only found in the south of Kyūshū and some adjacent islands, distributed in almost the same regions that are historically identified as the settlement region of the Hayato. It has a conservative style pointing back to Yayoi period pottery but at the same integrates features and vessel forms that are typical for Kofun period earthenware (hajiki). During the time that the Ancient Japanese state tries to subjugate the southern region, a “retreat” of this pottery form to local strongholds can be observed, and it is interesting to note that cooking pots and storage jars are the only two vessel forms that survive until the final stages under the rule of the Ancient Japanese state in the 8th century.

Narikawa pottery is made from ill suited clay and fired at low temperatures, its coarse quality and somehow rough finish produces beautiful products that sparkle from time to time or express the potterers mood immediately.

Narikawa pottery drew my attention because of its relation to the Hayato in the beginning, but the characteristic beauty and problems of classification and archaeometrical analyses have become my main interest recently.