Monday, June 13, 2011

Kim Kyoung Soo's Grey & White Pots and Cups: Part 1- Colour

Grey is the colour of all colours combined. Neither yin nor yang, black nor white, it embodies the Middle Way. A mind dwelling in "nowhere', mind entrenched in Zen, a mind unpretentious in nature. It is a colour that does not flatter. A colour derived from ashes, that which we will all return to in the end. As a result, it is the colour of the robes of Korea Zen monks- embodying this spirit of nothing. Kim Kyoung Soo's grey and white teawear also embodies this spirit.

White, by its nature it submits to heaven- it is the purest of all. It brings us clarity of mind, of thought, of being. In ChaShinJeon it states that snow white is considered the best to appreciate the full depth that tea has to offer. And so Kim Kyoung Soo's grey cups are often glazed inside with the purity of such a colour.

The combination of grey on the outside and white on the in teaches us that we should remain humble with our interactions in this world while striving for purity within. This lesson is sitting as a reminder on our tea table. Full of tea, we take it in deeply.



LTPR said...

lovely :) I so appreciate your insights (and a beautiful piece of wood this tea ware is sitting on, as well)

Matt said...


The wood comes from the weather worn doors of traditional commoner Korean houses in the south of the peninsula and from Jeju Island. They are used as very popular (but expensive) tea tables throughout Korea. Sometimes they are used in the traditional production of Ddok cha (Korean cake tea) as well.

Beautiful wood indeed!


Ho Go said...

Matt, is it the same Kim Kyeong Soo that I met in Mungyeong last month? If it is, he is one of the best teapot makers I've seen so far. His wife made us tea as I marveled at his pots. Very expensive. I have a good photo of him but there is no way to post it here.

Matt said...


His work is extensively covered here on MattCha's Blog see here:

He has two distinct styles of tea pots- his modest grey and white style buncheong pots featured in this series and his more elegant rustic oxidized pots which are quite expensive.

See here for some posts on his oxidized pots:

and here:


Ho Go said...

Can't quite tell if it is the same potter. The one I met is a Mungyeong potter. His work looks different but maybe 3 years ago, he was making things a bit differently. The pots you show are more like the Mungyeong style. Nice work.

Jason M. Cohen said...

Dear Matt,

I will be in Korea in 2 weeks,

If you have any info or suggestions about tea there,
it would be greatly appreciated!

You can contact me at:


All the Best,

Matt said...


Kim Kyoung Soo is a dynamic potter that incorporates stong traditional influences while considering the modern practical practice of tea in Korea. As a result his exhibitions change slightly year to year- its been three years since attending his exibitions so likly things have changed. His works were incororating more natural browns and greens before one left Korea.


Will send you an email but this advice has worked for others in the past:

If in Seoul just visit the traditional area of Insadong and sample teas at the many tea houses until you find one that suits you.