Oribe Chawan Tea Bowl | Impressed Stamp | Meiji Period

Chawan is a Japanese tea bowl used for serving Matcha, (thick, strong Green Tea), in the Tea Ceremony. It is different than an everyday teacup, (yunomi), which is generally used daily for lighter teas such as sencha or bancha. A winter tea bowl like the one being sold is a deeper bowl used during cold weather to keep the tea hot for longer periods.

This is a fine Oribe winter tea bowl with the classic thick green glaze dripping over one side of the bowl, and around the rim with a dimple, indicating the front of the bowl. The decorative abstract motif is charcoal in color. The clay body has a high-iron content and is formed by hand, on a potter’s wheel. The foundation of the bowl is made of a light tan crackle finish glaze with an under-glazed noted above and made with iron ink. There is an impressed stamp on one side of the bottom of the Chawan – not translated.

The Chawan measures 4-5/8” diameter and is 2-3/4” high, and is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, or hairlines. The foot, base and part of the underside are unglazed. We date this piece to the late Meiji period, circa 1880–1910.

Additional Information —
Oribe ware, (Oribe-yaki), is a classic style of pottery developed by the tea master Furata Oribe, (1544-1615), in the 16th century. Most of it is made in Seto province at the Mino kilns. Oribe ware is one of the most startling and innovative expressions of Japanese ceramics in existence, not only of this period but of all periods. Oribe ware has a very earthy feel with its layering of naturally occurring colors, and the rich, olive-green copper glaze is the most recognizable. Its highly abstracted motifs are drawn from the rice farms, bird forms, fishing nets, and various fabric motifs, among other geometric forms. The best bowls are thrown by hand and fired, and being “tea bowls”, most are extremely valuable. Irregularities and imperfections are prized: they are often featured prominently as the “front” of the bowl.

When looking at a tea bowl, the most important thing is how the rim was made. By looking at the rim, the general technical quality can be determined depending on the shape and the rim characteristics. The softness of the rim and how it feels, makes the lip the most important aspect in vessel design and tea drinking. The height of the bowl and the diameter of the body and its relation to the height and width of the foot rim are important factors. When judging whether a tea bowl is well designed and hand-thrown, the foot rim is an extremely important element to take into consideration.

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