Igusa Rush Grass products from Kurashiki, Japan have a very long history.
The origin of grass goods dates back 1,800 years. During his journey through Kurashiki region, the 14th Emperor Chūai (仲哀天皇 Chūai-tennō 149-200) was attracted to beautiful rush grass growing in the area. He requested for a woven mat be made out of the material and became fond of the texture and quality. For centuries, Kurashiki Igusa was exclusively provided to the nobility.
The Kurashiki area is known as the home of premium woven igusa products. Later on, Japanese people developed the tatami mat using the Igusa surface.
Momono Trading's Igusa Rush Grass products are traditionally produced by Imayoshi Shoten in Kurashiki using a 100-year-old weaving machine that heavily requires skilled handwork. Imayoshi started its operation in 1897. Mr. Masayuki Imayoshi is the 4th generation of artisan to produce woven Igusa products and one of the few remaining artisans who knows the traditional production method.
Bizen ware is a traditional ceramic ware produced in Bizen province, Okayama, Japan.
It is one of Japan's oldest potteries with a history of over 1,000 years. Bizen ware is shaped using natural clay and fired in the kiln without glaze. Bizen ware appearance is traditionally rustic, heavy and thick.
Momono Trading represents a talented creator with 38 years of experience and a 3rd generation Bizen ware artisan, Seiji Nanba developed his own style of Bizen ware with a smooth, light and elegant appearance. This style is considered a new wave or rebellious in an industry that dates back to the 12th century. Nanba has been questioning why Bizen ware pieces are treated as expensive artistic décor rather than every day dining ware in spite of practical functionalities that make our dining experience enjoyable. His simple and elegant style originates from his wish to make Bizen everyday ware dining ware.
Due to the 8-14 day wood firing, the internal temperature of the kiln reaches approximately 1250°C (2282°F), which creates metallic gloss on the surface with traces of molten ash. The Bizen ware increases its gloss and smoothness after a long period of daily use.