photo Inlay ceramics


Inlay (zōgan) ceramics are created by making incisions on the surface of a piece which are then filled with a differently colored clay to create a design. After the clay is inlaid, a glaze is applied and the piece is completed upon firing. The different colors of the clay create a striking sense of tension that cannot be achieved with painted designs. Inlaying as a technique was originally associated with metalwork and woodwork.


  • 1.A design is cut into the surface of the clay.
  • 2.A clay of a different color is inlaid into the carved-out areas.
  • 3.The excess clay is removed and the piece is bisque fired.
  • 4.Several glazes are applied, and the piece is completed upon firing.
  • Reference: Nihon Kōgeikai Higashi Nihon Shibu (Japan Kōgei Association Eastern Branch), ed., Dentō kōgei-tte nani? – miru, shiru, tanoshimu gaido bukku (What Are Traditional Crafts? –A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying). Unsodo, 2013.