Yutaka Hatsumi Oribe Chawan

Potter: Hatsumi Yutaka

Approximate size: W4.5″ by H3.1″ or 11.5 by 7.8 cm

This is an Oribe chawan by Yutaka Hatsumi (1950-). Formed in a half cylinder shape with chamfered sides, it continues to be one of the favorite forms of this potter. Glazed with a dark green glaze and bearing the painting of a hydrangea flower blossoms in red and blue. Hydrangeas typically bloom in shades of blue, purple, pink and more rarely in white, green or red. The other side of the tea bowl features a cute snail making its way through the greenery. For the brilliant green colour this tea bowl was fired in oxidation and reaching a temperature of 1220 degrees Celsius. If these conditions are not met then the glaze may end up brown or red instead of green!

Oribe is a visual style named after the late 16th century tea master Furuta Oribe (1544-1615). It’s most often seen in pottery, but extends to textiles and paintings. Oribe was of the Bushi class and not a potter however he also (like many other influential figures in Japan’s art history), something akin to an art director or designer. He embodied the spirit of wabi tea so completely that he was able to give it form in a truly new and unique vision. Boldly formed, often intentionally distorted chawan, decorated with green, black and brown glazes and abstract designs, appeared on the tea ceremony scene in Kyoto.

Oribe is a style of pottery with much variation and with its interesting history it is the foremost thing that attracted me to this chawan (and several others). There is a great variety in type of ware as well as surface treatment and use of glazes. Like many types of Japanese pottery, bowls and dishes are most common but some of the best chawan are in Oribe style. The clay body typically has a high-iron content and is formed by hand, on a potter’s wheel or by drape moulding. The surface of Oribe is painted and decorated with lively surface designs, which may be natural effects, geometric patterns or a combination of the two. White slip and clear glazes are also used.

The motifs, taken from nature or other decorative patterns such as textiles, were ground-breaking in their bold informality. Casting aside Korean and Chinese influences, they were also entirely Japanese. It must have been this recognition of a new Japanese aesthetic that caused tea devotees to cherish Oribe ware. Its ability to capture something of the artistic and spiritual soul of Japan quickly spread throughout the country, and its mass popularity continues to this day.

The hydrangea flower genus or ajisai as it is called in Japan, is a popular flower. Native hydrangea varieties have been mentioned in Japanese written records from the 8th century, while European varieties were introduced only in the early 20th century. Hydrangeas typically bloom during the rainy season in June and July, making them a symbol and the most popular flower of the season!

There are no chips or cracks and comes in the original quality tomobako, storage box with calligraphy and stamp of authenticity on the side.

€150 + shipping cost

Throughout the late Momoyama (1573–1615), and early Edo periods (1615–1868), in Japan, the art of the Japanese tea ceremony underwent new developments. Great tea masters such as Takeno Jōō (1502-1555), Sen no Rikyū (1522-1591), and Furuta Oribe (1544–1615), revolutionized the utensils, rituals and ceramics used in tea ceremonies. As time passed, technology improved and kilns advanced; improved firing conditions allowed the creation of Oribe ware, a new kind of ceramic used in these tea ceremonies.