Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hand Carved Chawan

Chawan? Whats a Chawan? Well, by simple definition, for many western potters, it is Japanese for teabowl. But, I think Chawan has a much deeper meaning.

I know very little of the Japanese Tea Ceremony but Chawan were treasured by the ancient Tea Masters. Even today the Chawan is a special and treasured breed of ware. Pictured in this post is what I call my first hand carved Chawan. It was Raku fired in my crude, brick , raku wood kiln.

Aoyama Wahei wrote in Japanese Ceramics Now that "a Chawan has certain rules that must be kept in order for the bowl to be classified as a chawan. For example, many advocates of tea, along with potters themselves, claim that the chawan must have a balance between several elements, such as height, width, depth, lip, body, and foot-ring. A lack of these elements will make the bowl either a plate or a mutli-purpose bowl, but not a tool that is appropriate for drinking frothy green tea in the tea ceremony."

Furthermore a good chawan should reveal a strength and spontaneity of the potter who created the bowl and should be interesting when viewed from all angles. Even the foot-ring will reveal the skill and state of mind of the potter who carved the bowl.

I don't have enough knowledge yet, or the space, to continue my rant about what a chawan is, or go into the significance of the chawan and the Japanese Tea Ceremony, but I can safely say that a chawan isn't your grandma's tea cup.

1 comment:

Diary of a Potter said...

good information. I had never heard about Chawan before.