Live Like Water

Japanese Tea Ceremony Bowl: Irabo Chawan

Live Like Water

Japanese Tea Ceremony Bowl: Chawan a practical work of art. In Korean they call the tea ceremony bowl a Dawan, the Japanese refer to it a Jawan, but the word we usually recognize is Chawan. This piece is made by the South Korean Master potter Toyayo in the Irabo style. What is striking is the rough and pockmarked surface and the asymmetrical organic shape. There is no gloss and the color is dull when this pottery is produced. However, the pottery will gradually change as it is being used, slowly, over time the pottery will be come darker, the roughness will diminish and a shine and smoothness will become more apparent. This process is called the "taming" of pottery. It is important to note that we don't use detergent or cleanser for tea utensils. In Korea they use a rough fabric to clean the cups or bowls and this is what helps to "tame" the pottery.

Whether you use this bowl for a tea ceremony or just use it for your own pleasure on a daily basis it will really enhance your tea drinking experience. As one Korean Master potter told me, "...the pottery is to be used, it is a living object. When it's put in a museum it dies." I have been a long time fan of wood fired Korean pottery. I personally love the rough textures. I feel it reflects our humanity in all its imperfection just as we strive to "tame" the pottery and become less course and more human.

Wood Kiln Firing: Pottery that is wood kiln fired is very labor intensive. The actual firing process takes approximately 36 hours! The success or survival rate of the pottery is only 40%.

Toyayo's Reputation: Although a South Korean potter, his works are really gaining an audience in Japan. No surprise really. The style of pottery and the muted tones are a long time favorite among the Japanese people. If we look back in history we know how between 1592 and 1598 Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi kidnapped Korean artisans, but that's another story.
Specifications: weight: .6lbs. Height 3 inches. Width at the mouth 5.5 inches Base 2 1/4 inches