Cherry Blossoms & Umbrellas Matcha Bowl


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Kiln: Zensyo
Made in Japan
3″ tall
4.75″ wide
Packaged in a wooden 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.

The painting on this lovely tea bowl conjures up visions of taking a stroll on a sunny spring day in Kyoto, watching as the breeze carries away the petals of a fully in-bloom sakura (cherry blossom) tree.  The buds and blossoms are painted with precision in an opaque glossy white glaze, their shapes well defined and crisp.  The blue and red umbrellas are rendered in soft, watercolor-like tones and have a wonderful sketched-on appearance.  The artist has placed wisps of pink color behind the blossoms, which give the design a sense of warmth and add to the bowl’s springtime feel.  On the inside of the bowl there are two branches laden with blossoms, along with several errant petals, adding motion to the design and creating the impression of a gentle breeze.  A thin gold line nicely accentuates and defines the bowl’s rim.  The footring is unglazed, while the rest of the bowl has a glossy clear glaze with a pleasant crackle pattern.

The bowl is crafted from a fine-grained clay in a lovely cream color with a sprinkling of dark flecks.  It is light in weight, with a straight-forward shape that is very comfortable to hold. It is slightly pinched in at the waist, a detail that is almost undetectable to the eye, but noticeable in the hand.  No matter how one holds the tea bowl this spot is exactly where one’s fingers rest.

All-in-all, this is an exquisitely-painted, spring-themed chawan from the esteemed Zenshoh kiln.

Zenshoh kiln was opened by Zenshoh Yamaoka in 1969.  Zenshoh Yamaoka is an officially-designated traditional craftsman who is renowned for his suburb drawing skills.

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.