Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sel Young Jin's Snowy Night

Coming from the extreme heat of the Korean summer, to the air conditioned cool, one sits down to enjoy a bowl of matcha.

One selects a beautiful piece by Sel Young Jin, one that emulates cool, its name, 'Snowy Night'.
The Yame matcha prepared within froths and bubbles with delight, how happy it is to lay within such a cool place. It's radiance beaming from its heady froth, reflecting off the uncut, rugged lip of the bowl.

As one's hands reach for the bowl, pleasurable tactile sensations abound, contradicting visual information. Although this bowl looks extraordinarily rough, it feels much softer and smoother. A thin translucent gloss is felt that blankets gritty earth and large pebbles underneath, like the first winter snowfall atop the mountain, it blankets the dead lifeless earth. Passifying it. Softening it. Beautifying it.

This bowl is gracefully disproportionate, exhibiting marked asymmetry. One side is rocky, earthy, dark brown, dotted with large white pebbles, imitating the slow elegant snowfall of big wet snowflakes, the first snowfall of winter. The other side is coated in thick white glaze blanketing a warped sidewall topped by an irregular protruding notch on the lip of the bowl. This white glaze is remarkably thick and soft on the fingers. The glaze is an accumulation of white, a fresh newly formed snowbank.

The contrast between the sides is so stark that if one were to only view one side of the bowl and then the other, they would surely think that they were viewing two separate bowls. But, now, cradling it in one's hands it seems so natural, so right. Each side completing each other, completing the story this bowl tells.

As one takes the final gulp of tea from this bowl, one's mind is chill. Reflecting on the light purple summer flower resting comfortably in Sel Young Jin's miniature ceramic vase, one is reminded that it is in fact summer. As one puts away the bowl and heads out side, stepping once more into the smug enveloping humidity and extreme heat of summer, one smiles knowing that in frigid winter months one will yearn for even a second of such sweltering heat.


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