Bizen has had a total of five Living National Treasures over the years and the most recent has been Isezaki Jun, who was designated in 2004. The Bizen jar of his in this show is decorated with another of the repertoire of four techniques used to decorate Bizen ware. This time it is the Hidasuki firing technique that is created when rice-straw cords soaked in seawater are wrapped around the pot, which is then fired. The cords burn away but the salt in the seawater reacts with the iron in the clay to create red stripes. This technique has been used since the 16th century. Again, we see that a modern twist is granted to a centuries old technique by hands of a skilled contemporary potter.
Isezaki is also known for having revived the Anagama (single chamber firing) in 1961. The anagama is a type of single-chamber tunnel-like kiln that is dug into a hillside. It’s a firing method that suits natural wood-ash firing, from which successful results are a result of both careful design and fortuitous chance. His works reflect this duality in his planned patterning which frequently takes on a modern, geometric quality, as well as the subtle surface qualities of traditional Bizen clay.