The history of Miyajima osuna ware
The manufacture of unglazed pottery containing sand from underneath the main Itsukushima Shrine building began in Miyajma in the Bunka era
(1804–18) of the Edo period. These items, which were used in rituals, came to be known as osuna ("honorable sand") ware or shinshayaki ("divine sand ware"),
because sacred sand was used. These
ritual objects also came to be sold as souvenirs to worshipers.
In the Bunsei era
(1818–30), with the aim of stimulating industry, the lord of Aki had pots containing
Itsukushima Shrine sand made on the mainland near the island of Miyajima to be
transported to the island and sold to worshipers as osuna ceramics. Many people from all over Japan came to
worship at Miyajima, and so the fame of osuna ware spread far and wide. Although they has had some dips in
popularity, osuna ware ceramics survived through the Meiji (1868–1912), Taishō (1912–1926) and
Shōwa (1926–1989) periods of the twentieth century and are still preserved by many people today. Today’s Miyajima osuna ceramics are the direct descendants
of these original pots. Three producers are currently involved with Miyajima osuna ware, namely Kawahara Gen'eidō, established in the Taishō period, Yamane
Taigendō, and Kawahara Keisaigama, which spun off from Kawahara Geneidō in
the Shōwa period.