About Koyo Ibushi
From Roofs to Walls―Evolving in its 5000th year
A Traditional Material from Thousands of Years Ago
According to one theory, Ibushi Kawara have a history stretching back 4000 to 5000 years. The Nihon Shoki, the “Chronicles of Japan”, states that tiles first came to Japan from China for the construction of Asuka-dera Temple in 588 A.D.
Strong yet Delicate Ibushi Kawara
Ibushi Kawara, which are a type of porous ceramic, are famous for their strength. Most roofing materials can be expected to have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, but Ibushi Kawara are durable enough to last twice that length of time. Another reason they are loved so much is the fact that they are made from just two completely natural materials – soil and carbon, and they are particularly popular still as they are both environmentally friendly and non-hazardous to people. These tiles are also known for their insulation properties and their far-infrared effect, demonstrating ability that holds ground with leading-edge materials. Koyo Ibushi materials make full use of the excellent characteristics of Ibushi Kawara.
The Shimmer of Ibushi Silver
The austere silver of Ibushi Kawara is created by a layer of carbon. The reason these are sometimes called ‘smoked tiles’ is that a special smoking process takes place at the end of the firing process, which creates this unique luster without dusting the tiles with metal. The Koyo Ibushi materials gently reflect the sunlight when used as external wall materials, and reflect room lighting and indirect light when used indoors. The shimmer of Ibushi silver subtly changes over time. The fact that the texture changes with age is perhaps another reason the Ibushi Kawara are loved so much.
Soil, Carbon, and Handiwork
Koyo Seiga have created a blend of unique proportions using a number of types of clay, each of which has different qualities. They fire the clay slowly over time, maximising the merits of each variety of clay, and smoke it to form the beautiful Ibushi silver carbon layer. The handiwork of the craftsmen is also indispensable. The surface is elaborately polished and smoothed with a spatula and a trowel before the firing process. The properties of the clay are carefully examined, and the pre-firing form of the Ibushi Kawara is minutely adjusted based on seasonal differences in temperature and humidity to ensure uniformity and to maintain constant high quality.
See our Koyo Ibushi Collection here