Vintage Japanese Somayaki Ceramic Teacups | Yunomi | Showa
This pair of Somayaki teacups are exceptional in both color, (“Aohibi” is the name given to the distinctive green/blue crackled glaze seen on most Somayaki ware), crackle glazing, and unglazed hand carved detailing, (motif: sea anemone and waves). This pair was made during the early to mid Showa period (1930s), are in excellent condition with no chips or imperfections. Each cup has a five lobe (cinquefoil) circular rim, and the Soma’s impressed stamp with horse on the bottom that says Soma Toroku. Dimensions: 3-1/4”dia x 1-3/4”h.
A Japanese teacup (Yunomi) or tea bowl is more than what is implied by the name for the ceremony – hot water for tea (cha no yu). It is, in fact, a quiet interlude during which host and guests strive for spiritual refreshment and harmony with the universe. The Japanese Tea Ceremony captures all the elements of Japanese philosophy and artistic beauty, and interweaves four principles – harmony (with people and nature), respect (for others), purity (of heart and mind), and tranquility. It grew from the custom of Zen Buddhist monks drinking tea in front of a statue of their founder, Bodhidharma, during their act of worship. Over the centuries, rituals gradually developed around the religious significance and the use and appreciation of the utensils needed for preparing and serving tea.
At many places of social, economic and business importance, Japanese teacups are used for drinking tea. Japanese teacups are very distinct from general teacups and have slightly higher cost than others. Tea is a very important beverage, hence the importance of teacups increases. Along with Chinese, Japanese teacups are one of the oldest and have more importance than the other teacups. There are many varieties of Japanese teacups and they differ from region to region. The craft of the Japanese teacups is not less than any art. The teacups that are made out of clay and ceramics are sometimes masterpieces. The best teacups and tea bowls are thrown by hand, and some cups are extremely valuable. Irregularities and imperfections are prized. The Japanese do not just look at the teacup as the container, but there is something far more than this that has their attachments with the teacups.
Somayaki was established in 1690 in Fukushima, Northern Japan. During the Edo period, it enjoyed the protection of the Soma lords and grew to over 100 kilns, making it one of the biggest and most important potteries in Northern Japan. Somayaki is proud of its history and draws from 300 years of tradition to create distinctive, unique pieces popular with collectors everywhere. One of the most recognizable characteristics of Somayaki is its “Hashirigoma” (galloping horse motif). The galloping horse motif was imprinted on Somayaki following the tradition of the Kano School of Painting, one of the most prominent and respected schools of art in Japan.
As you may be aware, the earthquake and tsunami, which hit the Eastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, caused considerable damage to Fukushima prefecture. Somayaki Pottery Works, and the Sue family, both located in Namie Village had been in existence since the Late 1600. The Somayaki pottery works was sadly destroyed in this heartbreaking disaster.