Thursday, November 20, 2008

My first bowl of whisked tea in a new raku-yaki

A kuro raku-yaki (黑樂燒) tea bowl is usually used for koicha (濃茶) or "thick tea" in Japanese tea ceremony. However, I'm experimenting the Sung Dynasty style of whisked tea with a deep appreciation of the wabi (侘) teawares developed in Japan. With that in mind, the first tea execution with Ai-oi was in usucha (薄茶) style, or as I would call it: dian-cha (點茶)!

It was nighttime, and rainy and chilly outside. I held the bowl this way so I could see both the pale green froth inside and the red glaze flowing on the out-wall of the bowl...

then I drank the tea to the bottom! The special design at the inside bottom allows remaining liquid to be collected there, thus it projects another fascinating scene!

One thing that I was missing is a ceramic ewer for pouring hot water...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ai-oi - A Raku Tea Bowl by Ko-raku

I just acquired a Rakuyaki (楽焼) tea bowl. The artist is Koraku (光樂).

It caught my eyes the first second I saw it, and I believed I was looking at a great master piece of a Raku ware, specifically, a Kuro Rakuyaki or 黒楽焼. The seller revealed that this bowl is made 40 years ago. A famous monk named Gensei Miyanishi, the superintendent priest of a Rinzai (臨済) temple, signed the wooden container box and gave the name Ai oi (相生) to this bowl. The meaning of the word Ai oi is rather ambiguous - as it is always for an Eastern mind! One way to render it could be "(the two) living in harmony." However, the Japanese seller gives "wooden root is divided into two truncks"! and therefore, suggests that this teaware is best to be used in Spring season.

Myōan Eisai (明菴栄西), the founder of the Rinzai School of Zen in Japan during 12th century wrote the famous 喫茶養生記 Kissa Yojoki, Treatise on Tea Drinking for Health. That was the oldest tea specialty book in Japan.

A similiar item by the same artist can be found being bid currently on Yahoo Japan (for 15,000円).

(茶道具 黒楽茶碗 光樂造 銘 庵の友 箱書 表 桐共箱)