Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Ceramic One-Cup Tea Maker in the Pu Gak Style

There is always much talk on tea blogs about the problem of how to brew tea in the office quickly and efficiently without surrendering flavour. This is probably a legitimate concern for us teaist who strive for perfection in the cup. Out of all the excellent posts one has came across, none seem to suggest, the ceramic one-cup tea maker.

It only makes sense that this functional teawear was first created in Korea. In a country that is always on the go and has one of the longest work weeks in the world, this simple one cup design seems perfect for both the traditional herbal teas as well as loose leaf greens that Korean tea drinkers consume.

There are many different designs, but all contain three essential parts: the cup body, the inside filter, and the lid/ filter rest. It's pretty self-explanatory you just preheat/ rinse, put the leaves in the filter that is already resting in the cup, add warm water, put the lid on, when you feel the tea is ready remove the lid, take out the filter with the leaves inside and rest it on the lid, drink the tea, repeat. Simple.

A lot of these one cup tea makers are mass produced in factories, by machines, or made by unknown, lesser experienced artists that work in a shop with others producing the same product. But, it is possible to acquire some original pieces like this one by artist Huh Sang Wook. Out of all the one cup makers one has used this one consistently produces the best cup of tea. It softens the tea and rounds out bitter edges. This one-cup tea maker is crafted in the pu gak style. This style is similar to pak ji but shows some important differences.

In the pak ji style the white glaze is carefully etched away but no deep impressions are left on the surface, so the surface remains smooth. In the pu gak style the images are not etched on the surface, but the clay is deeply striped away so it leaves a relief image on the surface.

This work by Huh Sang Wook features a mugunghwa flower, the national flower of Korea. This flower is a symbol of immortality.



Unknown said...

thank you for this website. but i am doing a class art project final on the histry of japanese tea cup culture and it would be great if you put who made them like women or somebody else so we could have a better understanding of were its coming from.

Matt said...


Sorry for the late reply. One usually lists the artist's name and any other pertinent information about each piece. If you have any questions about any particular piece, feel free to ask. Wishing you the best of luck on your paper.