Gold Screen & Iris Matcha Bowl


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Kiln: Zensyogama
Potter: Zensyo Yamaoka
Made in Japan
3.5″ tall
4.5″ wide
Packaged in an artist-signed wooded box


Shop for Japanese Matcha


Potters fashion Matcha bowls from various clay in all of the famous pottery making areas of Japan. They are traditionally hand-built from local clay that has been fired in wood, electric or gas fired kilns that do not reach a high internal temperature. As such, Matcha bowls are softer in density and clay structure than porcelain tea wares, which are fired at a very high temperature and whose glaze has bonded with the clay to create a hard, durable piece.


Matcha bowls are made for whisking and drinking powdered green tea and are durable for this use, but are not meant for drinking hotter-temperature types of tea such as black tea. Nor are they meant to be used as a teapot substitute for steeping loose-leaf tea.


In Japan and Korea much attention is paid to the unique characteristics of handmade pottery, and this includes all of the variables that make a handmade piece unique. A drippy glaze, a slightly lopsided lip, a finger mark in the glaze, etc, are examples of character that shows ‘the hand’ of the maker.


Matcha bowls can develop glaze cracks on the inside and outside surfaces of the clay depending on the type of clay and the type of glaze the bowl has been given. Cracks that appear only in the glaze with used (as opposed to cracks in the actual clay body) do not leak or weaken the vessel. Glaze cracks  and are held in high regard by tea drinkers, tea wares collectors and potters. It is the ‘voice of the clay’ speaking, and is viewed as the piece contributing some ‘self-patterning’ to the surface appearance. No two pieces of pottery will ever be exactly the same when the glaze develops a unique pattern of distinguishing glaze cracks from use.


Owning a Matcha bowl requires thoughtful handling and careful use.


Matcha bowls are not intended for use in a microwave or dishwasher. These tea bowls are meant to be simply rinsed and air-dried on a kitchen towel on the counter-top after use. Using Matcha bowls for tea other than powdered green tea can result in introducing water to the bowl that is too hot – this will encourage more glaze cracking to develop.


Please be aware that some foot-rings on Matcha bowls are intentionally not glazed and that un-glazed clay can be rough. While foot-rings such as these are considered desirable, one should take care to protect wooden table surfaces, counter-tops, and stainless-steel surfaces from being scratched.


What can I say about this teabowl that the photograph does not convey? It’s lightness in the hand, it’s elegant presence, it’s quintessential spring-time image and it’s overall loveliness when it contains a portion of emerald green matcha. In Japan, tea masters and tea practitioners choose a tea bowl to use for a tea gathering based on one of many considerations: who the honored guest is; what season of the year it is; what message or feeling they want to convey for the occasion of the tea gathering; the arrival of a special seasonal matcha, etc. And of course, the tea bowl must ‘fit in’ appearance-wise and make sense with the rest of the utensils and vessels on the tea table.

So for many who drink matcha in Japan, selecting a tea bowl is about more than mere aesthetics, although the image and it’s execution and the shape of the bowl must be well-rendered and appealing.

On our spring visits to temples and gardens in Kyoto, Japan, it is iris, growing majestically along a water’s edge that seems to capture the hearts of others viewing the garden. I think that potter Zensyo Yamaoka has created a very appealing tea bowl that conveys the essence of ‘spring’ tea bowl by featuring the fleeting beauty of a flower that is so beloved in Japan.

Please Note:
This is a handmade item – slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese teawares are to be expected. We have carefully photographed this item as best as possible – please be aware that different device screens can render colors and subtle tones slightly differently.