If there is a buncheong tea bowl style that is most stereotypical of Korea, the Edo (Ido or Jung Ho) style is it. It is unknown when exactly this Korean tea bowl style first emerged although people speculate that it must have appeared around the late 1500s or early 1600s. Some of the most expensive bowls in the world are Edo bowls from the 1600s.
The Edo style tea bowl is distinguished by its distinct shape. This shape allows for hands to easily and gracefully cup the sides of the bowl. Its rim and main body are such to allow the tea inside to gently and ever so softly depart from the shallows of the bowl embracing the tongue and mouth like a warm hug from a loving friend.
The Edo style is also characterized by its Edo clay. Good Edo clay should resonate a pinkish-orange glow like that of a loquat fruit. This clay is only found in the southern kilns of Korea. Like watching the sun rise slowly on a slightly overcast morning, its affect is profound yet subtle.
The glazing style of Edo tea bowls also define its style. The body of the bowl should be thinly glazed so as to allow for many small cracks. These cracks in the glaze allow the Edo clay beneath to breathe, thereby influencing the taste of the tea. The many delicate cracks help remove the harsh edges from the sometimes overwhelmingly bitter powdered tea., softening it.
The foot of a Edo bowl is undoubtedly unique. It displays a technique referred to as 'the skin of the Mae Hwa'. The Mae Hwa is a flowering tree with wondrous white flowers, it is the first to blossom in the Spring in Korea (click on this link to see a post featuring the falling Mae Hwa). This technique leaves thick white blobs of glaze barely covering exposed clay around the foot. It should look as though the foot is covered in flowering branches of Mae Hwa in the early spring.
Overall, the Edo style tea bowl, perhaps more than any other style of tea bowl, exudes naturalness, safety, and calm. For these reasons this style is highly prized by the Japanese, a perfect fit in the tranquility of a Japanese tea hut.
Just like the post on Gimhae style, these three bowls pictured are by three different living artists. Each bowl contains its own beauty, a part of the artist who made them. Two of these bowls were made by ceramic masters and are worth a ridiculous amount of money, the other by a younger, less experienced, but extremely popular artist is worth much less.
So again, just like with the post on Gimhae style, one thought to test your ability to discern valuable Edo tea bowls.
Instead of guessing which bowls are the expensive ones, today you will guess as to which bowl is the least valuable. Can you guess as to which bowl is made by the young artist? Why do you think its the least expensive of the three?
And just as before, Which is your favorite out of the three? Why do you like that one?
One will post a reply in a week or so. It was so interesting to read your responses on Gimhae style, so please, let it rip. Remember, it's just for fun!