Tea loves to dwell in beautiful places.
This post will start into motion an ongoing attempt at highlighting some of these places.
Tea drinking bowls (Kor: cha sa bal; Jap: chawan) are the most grandiose and celebrated of these places. Housing the thick green froth of mal cha (Jap: matcha), the energies of man, water, air, and powered tea converge here. It is both a creation vessel and consumption vessel- its point of conception and its last stand.
Brief descriptions of these different styles of tea drinking bowls by Korean ceramic artists will be featured throughout this blog. Enjoy.
'Hok' means black. 'Sae Mo' refers to the white base. These tea bowls are just that- black colour applied to a white base before being fired in the kiln. During the firing process the black reddens giving these pieces a rust tone that shares space with black globs in areas where the paint was thickly applied. Besides white and black- reds, oranges, browns, and greys can be seen.
Rusty. Rustic. Old. Imperfect. The 'Hok Sae Mo Eh So Hwan' style is wabi sabi.
The tea drinking bowl photographed is by Kim Jeong Pill. The top black area has a slippery-soft but slightly textured feel while the white base feels smooth but a bit sandy and gritty. This bowl is more symmetrical than most of this style, with a distinct lip that feels natural resting in ones mouth. One of the most wonderful features of this bowl is the colour change that takes place with the white glaze in the bowl. When hot water is added to pre-heat the bowl the white glaze reveals white-grey spots like fresh spring rain hitting old winter snowbanks before freezing within. Only through use can the true nature of this piece be realized.