Antique Hakeme Korai Natsu Chawan Choson Period
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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Tea Articles: Pre 1800: Item # 1114265
Fremont, CA 94536
Since the late 16th century, Korean tea bowls have been an essential part of Japanese aesthetics (especially in tea ceremony). Oda Nobunaga, the first samurai leader of Japan, was known to prefer items from China and Korea and was famous in giving the Hongwanji, the Ichimonji chawan which is now a national treasure.
The founder of Japanese tea ceremony Sen no Rikyu also favored Korai wares and Rikyu was known for his use of Korean ware bowls such as Ido jawan or the totoya chawan which were originally daily bowls used by commoners to drink water from or to eat rice (ido is translated as well and may have been placed near a jar of water or next to a well and totoya referred to a fisherman's home). Later many tea masters would import various bowls from Korea and would use them in tea ceremony. By the 1590-1600 period during the time when Toyotomi Hideyoshi was ruling Japan, he sent his vassals to Korea to conquer the peninsula, the campaign had resulted in bringing home the craftsmen that were producing the famous Korai chawan tea bowls back to Japan and these craftsmen in turn established kilns throughout Western Japan (such as Karatsu, Satsuma, Hagi).
The bowl presented is a Korai chawan done in the style known as Hakeme. Hakeme can be translated as brushed style, where a large brush is used to create a distinct pattern throughout the bowl. With the Korai Chawan bowls, the glaze or pigments used is not done using a slightly dry brush but the reverse.
Some dealers and a few collectors have taken note the difference in the name used in Japan versus in Korea. Tea bowls such as the bowl being presented is known as "hakeme" in Japan while in Korea sometimes the name " muan konahiki" is used in reference to the bowls that were commonly made near the southern tip of Korea known as Jeonam. The bowl presented is very similar to those bowls although the bowls that were produced in Jeonam do not have the small black pepper-like spots.
Korai tea bowls are known for 3 distinct attributes that are found in most bowls. The first attribute is the unglazed spots found inside the tea bowl. This is created when the bowls are placed on top of each other inside the kiln so that the potter can fire as much bowls as possible. After the bowls are fired sometimes pieces from the adjacent bowl that was place on top of another may melt and stick to another creating a unique pattern.
The second attribute, which is similar to the first, the foot of the bowl will also have the similar unglazed spots.
The final attribute, is found on the bottom part of the bowl. The combination of the natural way the glaze collects in that section of the bowl and the way the clay is done produces a wrinkled like effect known as, shibo. This feature is more common in Ido jawan and totoya chawan style bowls.
The tea bowl has at least one of the features which is the unglazed spots found on the bottom of the bowl, and it can be assumed that the bowl was placed last on a stack of bowls thus there are no unglazed spots inside the bowl. A similar example is found at Nikko in Tochigi in the Kinji-in collection where the bowl was named shiro tenmoku or white tenmoku (also was known as Seto tenmoku); however, the hakeme style or konahiki glaze used on the bowl, the spiral formation on the inside of the bowl, the rim like shape for the bottom of the bowl, and the structure are consistent with Korean examples and these features are very similar to the bowl presented ( the bowl is considered as a daimeibutsu piece).
The general age for these tea bowls varies and many results tend to come out, but one can assume that this tea bowl was produced during the 18th century to the 19th century.
The tea bowl comes with a silk shifuku, or silk cover and is usually used with high grade tea bowls or bowls that contain some significant value. The shifuku is using chirimen silk (a style of silk where there are fine wrinkles throughout the fabric) with a brown silk string.
CONDITION: The tea bowl has been used many times during its life and has aged to a beige like hue. Overall there seems to be no chipped areas, cracks, or obvious repairs done to the tea bowl and has been kept in very good condition in relation to its age.
Size: The bowl being in an uneven shape : Diameter: 5.9" x 5.8" or 14.98 cm x 14.73 cm Height: 2.2" or 5.6cm.
Ref: Oda Eiichi, Korai Chawan: Chaodgu no Sekai. Tankosha. Kyoto, Japan. 1999. Takahashi, Yoshio. Taisho Meikikan.Hounsha. Tokyo. 1921.