Satsuma-yaki is a type of ceramic ware from Kagoshima Prefecture, originating in the times of Lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598A.D.). It is generally divided into two types: the white shirosatsuma, with its luxurious hand-paintings, and the black kurosatsuma, designed more for daily use with its simplicity and solidity. This particular four-piece set is in the style of shirosatsuma. An enamel glaze has been applied to a white background to resemble the colour and shape of an egg. The entire piece demonstrates the effect of kannyu; a method whereby cracks are intentionally formed due to a difference in the rate of contraction between the ceramic and the enamel. Pigmented ink is then poured onto the cracks from inside of the container, and pushed through with different concentrations of colour, creating gradated hints of black oozing through the basic white surface. These four bowls can be piled up inside one another in a neat, nesting fashion.