photo Iroe


Iroe (literally color painting in Japanese) is a technique in which a transparent glaze is applied and the piece glost-fired, then paint is applied over the glaze and the piece is fired again at a low temperature of approximately 800 degrees Celsius. It is also called uwae, or over-painting. The paint used in traditional iroe is known as wa-enogu (Japanese-style paint), and color choices include red, blue, yellow, green and purple. It is also possible to use yo-enogu (Western-style paint).


Facts about iroe

Wa-enogu is traditional paint originally from China. The colors are dramatically different before and after firing. By contrast, with Western-style yo-enogu the color hardly changes after firing, the colors can be mixed, and there are numerous colors to choose from


How to make iroe ware -Using Japanese-style wa-enogu

  1. (1) Use a white glost-fired piece of pottery
  2. (2) Paint the outlines of the design
  3. (3) Fill in the outlines, using different colors of wa-enogu (each of which has a different chemical composition)
  4. (4) Fire at approximately 800 degrees Celsius, and you're finished!

How to make iroe ware -Using Western-style yo-enogu

  1. (1) Use pottery that has been glost-fired and has turned red-violet
  2. (2) Mask off areas you want to turn different colors with tape
  3. (3) Apply colors or designs to different areas, peel off the tape and fire the piece
  4. (4) Apply gold or silver, fire again, and it's finished!
  • "What Are Traditional Crafts? -A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying-" Edited by the Japan Kogei Association Eastern Branch. Published by Unsodo / List of works English translation: Kazuko Todate (Art critic / Art historian)


View All works