Tea Bowl, known as IRIFUNE

  • Katatsu kiln, Saga pref.
  • Momoyama period
  • 16c
  • Karatsu ware, Oku-gorai type
  • H-8.5 D-13
Catalogue Entry

Karatsu ware was said to have been established by Korean potters brought to Japan after the Japanese military campaigns on the continent during the Bunroku and Keicho eras at the end of the 16th century. These wares are fired in the Hizen region (a section of present‐day Saga prefecture and Nagasaki prefecture) and the wares that have been known as Oku‐gorai since the Edo period are Karatsu ware works made in the style of Korean Korai ware teabowls. Many of these works are generously, unpretentiously formed, and they have a subdued, quiet nature that is suitable for the austere elegance of wabi tea ceremony aesthetics. While a light orangish yellow color was generally preferred, the light red melted glaze of this bowl is quite beautiful, and the strongly shaped mouth and spatula carved lower body increase its individual flavor. The foot is thick and tall, and this form combined with the swell of the torso gives the bowl a "goki" format sensibility. The inside of the box lid is inscribed with a poem about sailing ships returning at dusk by Kobori Sochu (1786‐1867), the eighth generation head tea master of the Enshu tea school of tea ceremony. The torso of this bowl swells like a sail filled with the wind, and the light red glaze resembles a sail tinged with sunset glow as boats return to their ports as dusk.