Takashi Mashita Hagi Biwa Chawan

Potter: Takashi Mashita

Approximate size: W 5.5″ by H 3.2″ or 13.9 by 8.1 cm

This is a fantastic example of biwa or loquat coloured Hagi ware. This chawan was made by the 1st. class potter Takashi Mashita who studied in Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture. He aspired to be a potter from the age of 22 and after approximately five years of training in Hiragaki in the city of Hagi he then relocated to Suita City and opened a small shop where he sells his wares.

To create pottery with biwa textures a transparent glaze also known as wood-ash glaze and earth-ash glaze is used to coat the clay. It is a solvent solution of ash from various varieties of trees, such as pine, sawtooth oak, Isu tree and Japanese oak. For Hagi yaki, this mixture is combined with feldspar minerals at a ratio of approximately 5:5 to make a compound. During the firing process the amalgamation of clay and glaze creates a lemon yellow colour. In the case of tea ware, this glaze is known as Biwayū after the orange-coloured loquat fruit (biwa fruit), and is a highly appreciated aspect of this glaze.

The light, sandy clay that is visible near and around the koudai, is typical for this type of Hagi work. The form and texture of the clay are based on the classic ‘Ido” chawan. Expertly wheel-thrown out of rough clay Hagi clay. The porousness that is a characteristic of the clay used in Hagi ware is what allows Hagi chawan to grow and ‘evolve’ as it were, over time. With use, tea travels through the bowls and cause colour changes and visual differences in the glaze. Surrounding the koudai or foot of the bowl is a mixed glaze combining feldspar and ash glaze. Low amounts of iron oxide inherent to the clay, created this beautiful loquat colour known as a feature Hagi yaki and Korean Ido chawan. The colour and glaze is often described as biwa.

Ido chawan is a type of classic shape used in ceremonial tea bowls. It is often stated as the first of three, most famous and classical bowls used in throughout the history of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. A famous saying in the Tea Ceremony is “First Ido, second Raku, third Karatsu”. It means ‘Ido chawan’ is stated as the highest grade for tea bowls. Even though ‘Ido chawan’ did not originate in Japan but in Korea, many Japanese have agreed on and still regard Ido bowls as the top grade type bowls to use for the Tea Ceremony, as it has been throughout the ages.

Ido chawan was originally a low grade bowl used for daily necessities in the early Joseon dynasty in Korea (1392-1910). Substantial numbers of Ido chawan were shipped to japan in order to meet Japanese demand. By the Momoyama period in Japan (1568-1603), famous tea ceremony artist Sen no Rikyu had appeared and was promoting the wabi spirit in the Tea ceremony. Wabi means finding the beauty in imperfection. So Ido chawan from Korea hit the heart of many Japanese people who were pursuing the wabi spirit at that time. The shapes of Ido chawan bowls are at times imperfect indeed, however they contain perfect natural beauty.

Further authenticating this tea bowl is the written appraisal by Sekio Fukuoka who is a well known monk in Japan. He’s famous for his calligraphy and appraisals of tea ceremony utensils. Sekio Fukuoka was the preceding head Priest of the Rinzai sect at the Daitoku Temple group’s Shoshun-Ji Temple. This Hagi Ido chawan atmosphere or presence when you come closer to it was likened Zui-Un or Auspicious Clouds.

The chawan, sealed by the potter has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. Comes with the original high quality shiho san paulownia tomobako with kiln stamp and calligraphy on the side and inside of the lid plus a dedicated tomonuno (tea cloth).


Thank you very much!

The origins of Hagi ware can be traced back to the arrival of Korean potters to Hagi, a quaint town situated in Yamaguchi Prefecture on the Japan Sea, following Japan’s military invasion of the Korean peninsula in the late 16th century. As a result, a large number of Korean craftsmen were abducted and transported to Japan, where they played a crucial role in establishing new pottery types such as Satsuma, Arita, and Hagi ware.