Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Hwa Row By Uh Sang Myung

As one contently sits cross-legged on the floor, next to the tea table sits Uh Sang Myung's hwa row.

Its form is quite a deviation from the traditional Japanese style. The whole unit rests on a circular ceramic base that is a bit darker from that of the main body. The base of this hwa row gives it a firm grounding feeling. Light ceramic with subtle rose blotches create a natural softness.

The main body of the hwa row is complete genius. It resembles a square which acts to balance the circular base and cylindrical kettle. The shape slowly morphs from its spherical bottom in to a square-like edged opening on top. The main body is separated from the base by three legs- a signature of Uh Sang Myung found on his pots and vases. The colour is flecked with ash that swirls in the kiln. These ashy marks contrast as well as compliment the ghastly white glaze that coats the main body.

One stares meditatively into the burning embers contained through the rusty edged side opening. Caging hot glowing charcoal is a three pronged metal stand. Atop this stand sits the cylindrical kettle.

The kettle has two square lungs and metal rings which now rest ready for action on the floor beside the base. These metal rings occasionally pierce the lungs to move the hot kettle off the heat as needed.

The lid of the kettle trembles as one's hand moves thoughtfully toward the small knob atop the lid. One grasps it and then removes the lid, placing it on a white hemp cloth just beside the base. This same hemp cloth also shares its surface with the pyo chew bak which one's hand now reaches for. It's time to draw water from this boiling hot kettle.

It's time for tea.


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