This is a Japanese tea bowl - chawan - that has a very thick dark to medium brown glaze on the exterior done in a streaky hare's fur tenmoku glaze. The foot and the base are unglazed. The interior of the chawan is greyish white - almost dirty white - glaze with hints of pink.
There was some thought that this could be a piece from the Song dynasty, China, 12th-13th century. However the presence of the Kanji characters led us to the Japanese origin. The interior of the bowl has four Kanji characters inscribed evenly dispersed along the upper area just under the rim. We have tried to get all four translated but only two could be clearly made out. These read as "Spring" and "Sea". The bowl measures 4 1/2" diameter at the top - is 2" deep - and the base is 1 1/2" diameter. It is in excellent condition. The large rough spots near the bottom rim are where the thick glaze was too thick and chipped off during the firing and glazing. We date the piece to the mid Meiji period, circa 1880 - 1900.