Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Edo Style Tea Bowl By Kim Jeong Oak









This bowl by Kim Jeong Oak is an eye-catcher. The cracks of this bowl are beautiful. Upon closer inspection there are smaller cracks within the boundaries marked by larger cracks that give way to even more smaller delicate fractures. Even the blobs of white glaze found on the foot are not exempt from these graceful fractures.

In the subtle pinkish-orange glow of the bowl's shallow, these cracks give way to black air holes. One's mind gives way to awe.

Peace

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for commenting but this chawan is of impeccable taste. Being of Korean make, however, will it be used for Chanoyu? I know that Korean pottery has been a long time staple for chajin in Japan, but will it see use in Korea for the same purpose?

ginkgo said...

In your blog i have see so much ceramic pieces I like but this one...for me it is my best one ! I have just no words to say what feeling it makes !thanks for sharing ! (I think such bowl is also very very expensive :::? )....

Matt said...

Anonymous,

Often Korean ceramics such as this piece are highly valued by the Japanese. As such, these works could be used in Chanoyu in Japan or in a Japanese style tea ceremony performance in Korea.

The more typical use for such a piece in Korea is in the very informal Korean powdered tea ceremony. Also, like any piece of art, these pieces might just be purchased for their monetary, aesthetic value and only be displayed or just stored away to appreciate in value (gasp).

Ginkgo,

Yes, this piece is a bit expensive and excessively beautiful. Thanks for sharing your speechlessness.

Peace

Eileen said...

Beautiful tea bowl. Can you elaborate on "the very informal Korean powdered tea ceremony" of which you write?

Matt said...

Eileen,

The 'informal Korean tea ceremony' that one refers to is the ceremony that is used today in Korea. The powdered tea ceremony is a more abbreviated version of Chanoyu from Japan.

This ceremony involves the basic functional steps of the Japanese thin tea ceremony without all the strict rules governing that ceremony. It allows for the creativity of the tea preparer to influence the ceremony. It also involves preparing the tea in a more natural way without all the formalities of the greeting and saying good bye.

There are three basic forms of the ceremony one is a performance type for guests, the other is for an offering, and the last is for drinking tea by oneself or a meditative type.

Since there are no historical records of the Korean powdered tea ceremony, scholars are unable to determine if it actually evolved independently from the Japanese. Most think that the Japanese heavily influenced the modern day ceremony here in Korea.

Peace

Janine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janine said...

Just beautiful. Thanks.

Matt said...

Janie,

Peace

David Louveau said...

Do you know, why the glaze shrink at the foot of the Edo teabol ?

Matt said...

David Louveau,

My understanding is that this effect is created by the way they apply it to the foot.

Peace

Laura said...

I own a very similar bowl which I bought in INsadong last May. I was i quite a rush and did not understand the name of the artist but the store owner told me he was no longer alive. Is it the same artist? The bowl has the same bubbly pattern on the bottem and the glaze is identical - but no spots inside. I have been to Korea twice now on business and haven't had the time to learn about the potters. Are you a collector? I want to learn more but don't really know how to get at the information.

Matt said...

Laura,

Your tea bowl is definitely not the same artist because Kim Jeong Oak is still alive.

It is often very difficult to determine the artist of a classical style of tea bowl such as this classical edo style. This is because essentially these artist are trying to replicate an 'ideal' bowl of that particular style. Often they adhere to strict parameters, while subtly putting their signature touch on the bowl. The best masters often make bowls that look very much the same as other master's works with only slight nuances that define their own artistic style, setting their work apart.

One is not a collector just someone with a deep appreciation for this art. One writes regularly on Korean ceramics because, to ones knowledge, there is no other information in English about these beautiful gifts. No books, articles, or even internet resources that touch on this stuff! One suggests you click on the label "Korean Pottery" at the end of the main body of this post and it will link you to other Korean pottery posts on this blog.

If you want to leave your email address, one will try to determine the artist. Is there an identifying mark near the foot of your bowl? How much did you pay for it? Perhaps you can send a pic?

Peace

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Very beautifull kind of Bowl.
Do you mind if I Ask you to add the link to the potter site.
Making a quick search with "Kim Jeong Oak" on internet does not give any answers

Thank you for sharing this good potter adresse
Philippe H

Matt said...

Philippe H,

Like most traditional potter masters, don't think he has a site. Sorry, ones transliteration is a bit off. You can try searching "Kim Jeong Ok".

These excellent sites came up in English with bio information and even ceramics for purchase:

http://www.koreafolkart.com/e2-1.htm

http://www.antiquealive.com/masters/Ceramics/Earthenware.html

Peace

Ho Go said...

I have been to the house of this potter in Mungyeong and had tea with his wife and others. He is considered one of the intangible cultural assets of Korea and his work fetches big money. I had his email but cannot find it now. If one really wanted to get in touch with him, Arthur Park would know how.
At the Mungyeong Museum, they have an interesting display of Ido style tea bowls made locally. It is certainly a style revered and copied over and over again. This has always been the way in Asia.
That's a valuable bowl, Matt.

Matt said...

HoGo,

The bowl in ones estimation is worth somewhere from 10 000-15 000 USD as it is a fine specimen of Jung Ho (Edo) style from the worlds master of this style. Anyone who lays eyes on this bowl likes it. It is a beautiful piece, luckily one does not own it.

That's right, Arthur Park should have that contact info Philippe. You can contact him at http://dawan-chawan-chassabal.blogspot.com/

Thanks HoGo.

Peace

Anonymous said...

Allow me to put the fox among the chickens.
I've met Kim Jeong-ok several times and have been honored to be served tea by him and his charming wife. I've also done the same with Chun Han-bong.They are both gracious hosts and have been unstinting in their advice ( I am also a potter). I am fortunate to own two of Kim's Ido bowls and an Ido bowl and Bun-chong bowl by Chun and have examined scores of Ido style bowls( I believe it's correct to say Ido style as Ido dawan-Korean spelling- were made hundreds of years ago).I know that I'll be drawn & quartered for saying this but I think this bowl is overfired and has been artificially aged by soaking in strong tea or (shudder) coffee. One of my bowls was fired a little hot while the other's glaze is more opaque and I believe has more character. The glaze on Chun's bowl is thicker, more opaque and has a glaze surface almost like a classic Shino.
A pet peeve of mine is this; put 50 Ido style bowls on a table and try to decerne something not formulaeic.Every bit of advice offered to me is that the bowl has to be a certain shape with the 'right' type of foot with the right glaze with the 'right' texture on the glaze on the foot(kairage,sharkskin, frog's egges ,crepe etc).There's a foolproof trick to getting this surface about which I've been sworn to secrecy. They rarely see what there is that is good and just tell me why it's not 'correct'.It seems to me that people with that attitude have forgotten what the early chajin loved about the Korean bowls.
I've met only one teabowl master who's work shows original thinking, Min Young-ki.He was very encouraging has offered to give me guidance.His advice was the straw that broke the camel's back and convinced me that to make first class pots I have to dig my own clay.So----I spent the last two days digging clay out of the banking outside of my studio. BTW my studio is in Geochang which is the heart of Bun'chong country which is my first love.
If I'm not completely evicerated as a result of this I'll publish my name next time & maybe some pics. of my bowls

Matt said...

Anonymous,

First, thanks for sharing this very personal experience with these potters.

"put 50 Ido style bowls on a table and try to decerne something not formulaeic."

Yes, couldn't be more true. The idea is that these potters simply churn out so many of these things that they become thoughtless. Its the effects of repetition and the qualities of the wood kiln that essentially break this rigid formula like feel. Guest there is a standard to be met before they start pumping these beauties out of the kiln?

"They rarely see what there is that is good and just tell me why it's not 'correct'."

Sounds like a stereotypical, very traditional, Korean teacher to me! Hahaha...

Please do publish your name and a link to your site or to some pictures, would love to have a look at your Min Young Ki inspired teapots.

Peace

Ho Go said...

Anonymous, I know this name, Min Young-ki, but I can't remember if I've met him or who he is. Is he an old man? Where does he live? I will have to look through some notes to see if I have anything.

Your post is not heretical so I don't know why anyone would take offense. All our concepts should be questioned, don't you think?

Matt said...

HoGo & Anonymous,

Check out this beautiful bowl by Min Young Ki:

http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/exemplary-buncheong-style-tea-bowl-by.html

Min Young Ki is probably the most famous Korean potter on the international stage. He spent a chunk of his life in Japan studying under teamasters there and is not bound by the constrictions of "Living National Treasure" status.

See his bio here: http://www.busanmoma.org/03exhibition/03_01.jsp?amode=viewEng&id=304

So, as he is not a keeper of a National Living Art, quite naturally, he is much more flexible in his approach to Korean pottery.

Peace

Greg C said...

Min Young-ki is in Sancheong which is about one hour south of me.He studied for three years in the Karatsu region of Japan under Nakazato Tarouemen who was designated 'Holder of important intangable cultural property'.
My wife and I spent the day with Min yesterday, enjoyed lunch prepared by his charming and elegant wife and spent the afternoon listening to him expound on the nature of Korean pottery, the Japanese, and why so few Koreans appreciate their ceramic heritage.He is very knowlegable and lectures in Japan on ceramics.He's something of an expert on the subject of Ido bowls having examined all the famous bowls in Japan. He's a vigorous 70'ish and still makes regular trips to wherever there is good clay to sample it for future use.

Matt said...

Greg C,

Wow! Sounds like a wonderfully intimate experience with arguably the best potter in the world!

" listening to him expound on the nature of Korean pottery, the Japanese, and why so few Koreans appreciate their ceramic heritage."

Sounds like you got a real education.

There are people in Korea that hold Min Young Ki's Japanese education against him. This is very interesting. Koreans have an understandably touchy response to anything that involves the Japanese. This seems a bit silly considering Japan played such an influential role on Korea and its history and its influence is very hard to separate.

This attitude has not only impacted Korea's ceramic heritage but is one of the many reasons why Koreans currently drink much more coffee than tea.

Thanks again for commenting Greg,

Peace

Ho Go said...

Coffee, indeed, is the current rage in Korea. Even in small towns you could get a good cup of espresso. There is also a growing movement towards roasting right on premises. Had one of the best cups of coffee in my life in Gwangju in a tiny cafe that a friend brought me to. Drip, not espresso!

In spite of the rise of coffee, tea is also on the rise. But, I would imagine that tea will never overtake coffee in the world market nor in Korea.

Still waiting for the name of the potter/poster and a link to his works!!

Greg C said...

Yes, it was an education and a wonderfull experience.His friendship & guidance are a great treasure.
To understand Koreans' attitude towards Japan one needs to know some history. In the 1590's Japan invaded Korea on the pretence that the Japanese were not granted passage through Korea to invade China. The 'Imjin wars' were arguably as devestating as the Korean war of the 1950's, killing I believe, over two million people.Korea was nearly brought to it's knees but was able to turn back the Japanese.The pottery industry was badly affected bringing to an end the production of bun-cheong ware for good.In 1910 Korea was annexed as a colony by Japan and was occupied until 1945.All Korean culture was suppressed and Japanese ways were substituted including the language.This is all SOP for countries establishing empires but that's scant comfort for those living under a harsh military regime and the Japanese were particularly brutal in suppressing dissent.Japan plundered Korea for it's assests, chief among them was it's abundance of good clay.The Japanese set up a rival ceramics industry on a massive scale centered around Busan that soon virtually destroyed the Korean one consisting of mostly small studios.During the occupation Japan undertook a massive railroad building campaign unearthing a treasure trove of old pottery.Ever wonder was the finest Korean Pottery is in Japan? Even now Korea is treated in a patronizing manner in many quarters.While Korean pottery is revered the attitude is that it took the Japanese to fully appreciate it's true beauty; the Koreans weren't capable of this.The commonly held idea of the Ido bowls being common peoples' rice bowls is, according to one expert, a fantasy dreamed up by the Japanese to cast the glow of the all seeing eye upon the themselves; an attempt to endow themselves with powers of perception unique to themselves.Japan certainly played a large role in Korea's past but I'd hardly call it a benificent one.Can't blame them for being a little silly when it comes to the subject of the Japanese.

Matt said...

Greg C,

Thanks for expounding a little of "the History according to Min Young-Ki"! Much appreciated.

HoGo,

Think Greg C is that anonymous commentator/ potter? How about some pics and links Greg?

Peace

Anonymous said...

For anyone who is interested in seeing what I do they can go to www.morningcalmstudio.com http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100001672194728
http://cafe.naver.com/morningcalmstudiogs
I've just returned from my first show opening in Busan at the 'Fine Gallery' after having a very successfull Korean debut in Seoul at the COEX Korea Galleries Art Fair where I sold six (!) teabowls to a gallery owner.I'll be in Seoul again in Sept. at the Korean International Art Fair.Anyone out there in Korea?
Greg C

Matt said...

Greg C,

Beautiful bowls Greg!

Thanks for sharing, will be sure to dirrect interested individuals your way.

Peace