Friday, June 17, 2011
Kawara are ceramic rooftiles originally brought in from Korea to roof the first Buddhist temple in Japan in Asuka. Initially produced by immigrant artisans, they were only used on temples.
During the Heian Period is was stipulated that senior members of the court must roof their homes with them, but most people still used thatch or cedar-bark shingle until the Edo Period when mass production began.
There are currently more than 1,000 different styles.
The Iwami area and specifically Gotsu is a major producer of kawara, mostly in the distinctive red-earth color, though many colors are now available.