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Light brown clay underlying rich earthy tones, this Irabo chawan has an attractive shape and slender textured pedestal. Rough yet elegant, it feels comfortable in the hand.
Introduced to Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries from the Korean Joseon dynasty (1392-1897), Irabo bowls are admired largely for their use in tea ceremony. Made of coarse, unrefined clay with a high content of iron oxide, such bowls display remarkable contrast and depth. The clay which forms the bowls will sometimes show impurities and small stones—which may exploded in the kiln forming interesting marks during firing (ishihaze). After firing, a thin treatment of transparent ash glaze is applied over the clay which initially gives the bowls a rather dull appearance. However, over time and with extended use, a rich and distinctive luster emerges as can be observed here.
This bowl is 5.3 inches in diameter (13.5cm) and 3.1 inches tall (8cm). It is in excellent condition with a box showing some age and wear (the piece was likely boxed this way 75-100 years ago but the bowl is much older). On the cover written in Chinese script are the characters 伊良保 (irabo).