Tea Bowls And Traditions

(For those interested in different tea bowl shapes and feet, skip to the bottom.)

Though I am focusing on Japanese tea bowls and the Japanese tea ceremony to start, they are thoroughly intertwined with Chinese and Korean ceramics and history. As I learn more, I will hopefully be able to provide more of interest about their works and traditions as well.

Japanese Tea Vocabulary

This is a very basic list of ceramics and tea-related terms for starters.

抹茶, Matcha
A high-quality green tea that is finely milled into a powder. The finest grade, 濃茶 (koicha) is used for making thick tea, while 薄茶 (usucha) is used for thin tea. For more information visit Charaku Tea's pages on tea facts and Japanese tea varieties.
茶碗, Chawan
A bowl for making and drinking matcha tea. To make the tea, hot water is poured into the chawan to warm the bowl up. The water is then poured out and the bowl dried. A small amount of matcha (less than a teaspoon) is sifted into the bowl, and a few ounces of hot water are added. The tea is then stirred up until frothy with a bamboo whisk. Tea bowls for matcha have to be wide enough so that there is room for the whisk to move - usually around 4-6" (9-14cm) across at the rim. This is the type of tea bowl and tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Chawan may also at times be used to refer to rice bowls. If you need to specify, tea bowls are 抹茶茶碗, matcha-jawan, and ricebowls are ご飯茶碗, gohan-jawan.
茶入, Chaire
A tea caddy. A small ceramic container for koicha, a thick highest-quality matcha tea. Traditionally the lid is made of ivory with gold leaf covering the underside.
茶筅, Chasen
A bamboo whisk used to stir matcha tea in the tea bowl.
茶杓, Chashaku
A small scoop used to spoon matcha tea into the tea bowl. Usually made out of bamboo, but may also be ivory or wood.
茶巾, Chakin
A small white hemp or linen cloth used to wipe the tea bowl clean. The lengthwise edges of the cloth are rolled into narrow hems on opposite faces of the fabric and bound by a loose spiral stitch: a very nice detail.
湯呑み, Yunomi
An tea cup with a cylindrical form, used for more ordinary teas that are brewed rather than stirred in.

time well spent

closeup view Jack Troy cup, links to Jack Troy artist page

time to explore

link to newest page of ceramic artist links, including link to Scott Parady, pictured

time flies

Link to monthly image blog