Yoko Hamamoto Madara Karatsu Chawan

Potter:  Hamamoto Yoko

Approximate size: W4.7″ by W4.6″ by H3.4″ or 12.2 by 11.8 by 8.7cm

Made by the contemporary potter Yoko Hamamoto this is a highly mottled Karatsu chawan. It has an han tsutsu-gata or half cylinder shape which has been chamfered to create the cornered design on which the glaze had the chance to pool in greens and light blue hues. The shape of the koudai or footring can be classified as what is known as a Tokin koudai. Tokin infers the shape is similar to ancient kabuto, Japanese helmets worn by samurai in battle.

The glaze used for Karatsu-yaki is “wood ash glaze”, which, as the name suggests, is made of wood ashes. It is used as the basic glaze for Egaratsu (Brush decorated Karatsu-yaki), and Muji-garatsu (Plain Karatsu-yaki), as well as most other types of Karatsu-yaki. The second most commonly used glaze is straw ash glaze, which makes use of the cloudy nature of straw ash. It is used for Madara-garatsu (Mottled Karatsu-yaki), and for layering with black amber glaze when making Chōsen-garatsu (Korean-style Karatsu-yaki). Apart from these types of glaze, iron glaze is also often used to make pots.

Karatsu-yaki is one of Japan’s oldest and most revered styles of ceramics used in daily life and later in history the development of the Tea Ceremony. Karatsu pottery originates in what is nowadays Saga prefecture. As the ancient saying goes first Raku, second Hagi and third Karatsu. Among the many different aesthetic characteristics that developed this is an exemplary chawan of the Madara-garatsu style (斑唐津).

Madara-garatsu or Mottled Karatsu Ware is made with Raw clay which is covered with a mixture of feldspathic glazes and silica ash. The raw clay becomes opaque and white after being fired in the kiln due to the silica content. Madara-garatsu derives its name from the blue and/or black spots that appear on its surface (mottled surface), as Madara means spots in Japanese.

The chawan has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. Comes with the original high quality paulownia tomobako or storage box with the potter’s stamp and calligraphy on the lid. Also includes a pamphlet with information about Yoko Hamamoto. An exquisite piece of Karatsu.

€275+ shipping cost

Clay used for making Karatsu-yaki is mainly clay from Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture, southern Japan, known as “Suname” (in Japanese, “suna” means sand and “me” means eye). The name “Suname” arises not because sand is mixed into the clay but derives from the rough texture of the material. The second most commonly used clay is fine “Suname”, which is strongly adhesive. This clay has constituents that are rich in iron and others that are not. The former becomes blackish brown after the firing process. As the latter becomes close to white upon firing and pictures drawn on this part of the clay develop a vivid color.