Korai Chawan (Tea Bowl coming from Korea) (高麗茶碗)

The term "korai chawan" refers to a type of tea bowl which was used in Sado (Japanese tea ceremony) from around the middle of the 16th century and was originally a bowl for everyday use made in the Korean peninsula that came to be appreciated as a tea bowl by Japanese chajin (tea ceremony masters). The term 'korai' in korai chawan means 'coming from Korea' and most of the products which were called 'korai chawan' were made in the Joseon Dynasty rather than the Goryeo ("Korai" in Japanese) Period.

During the Muromachi Period (1333-1573), Japanese Sado changed from 'tea at the Shoin (reception room)' to 'tea at the Soan (thatched hut)' with an emphasis on 'wabi' (taste for the simple and quiet) and 'sabi' (quiet simplicity). As a result, the types of tea bowls that were valued also changed, from karamono (goods imported from China) to koraimono (goods imported from Korea) and wamono (goods made in Japan). Against this background, 'korai chawan', which were originally made as everyday bowls, came to be treated as tea bowls.

Most karamono tea bowls used in Japanese Sado from the 16th century, such as tenmoku tea bowls, Juko celadon, Karamono chaire (Chinese-style tea canisters) and Luzon chatsubo (tea urn) were minor wares that were mainly fired in minyo (private kilns for producing plate ware for daily use) in southern China. This was in contrast to the white porcelain, celadon and blue and white wares ('seika' in Japanese) popular in China. Of course, large amounts of these types of porcelain were also imported to Japan and many pieces have been excavated from medieval and more recent sites. Most of the ceramic ware coming from abroad was made in China and Southeast Asia, and although some Korean celadon and Bungjeong ware can be found, it seems that these were not particularly prized. Since which kilns they were fired in is not clear even today, it can be said that it was a unique viewpoint of the Japanese that led them to seek what were even then minor and rare karamono tea bowls. Copies' were also produced in Japan.

Korai chawan' was a product of this background and it first appeared in literature in "Matsuya Kaiki" (Record of tea ceremonies), where 'korai chawan' is described as being used in Sogo JUSHIYA's tea ceremony in 1537.
In "Yamanoue Soji ki" (The Record of Soji YAMANOUE) from 1588, there is a description to the effect that 'Kara chawan is out of fashion and Korai chawan, Seto chawan and Imayaki chawan are popular today.'
It is thought that this 'Seto chawan' corresponds to today's Mino-yaki (Mino ceramic ware) and 'Imayaki chawan' to Rakujawan (Raku ware tea bowl). This shows a change in aesthetic values, with a higher value placed on random and irregular porcelain rather than the well-regulated style and design of porcelain fired in the official kilns of China.

The people of the Korean peninsula consider their major ceramic ware to be that which is high-quality and elaborately made like Chinese ceramic ware.

Classification of korai chawan
Japanese Sado classifies korai chawan as follows. Ido' style bowls were made for everyday use in the 15th and 16th centuries during the Joseon period and 'goshomaru' style bowls were order made for the Japanese market.

This style has long been regarded as the best example of korai chawan and has a high kodai (base or foot) called a 'Takenofushi Kodai' (bamboo-node foot). Although only everyday items and far from being what are known as 'jotemono' (refined art), they have a simple yet powerful charm which is suitable for wabicha (literally, "poverty tea style"). The color of the glaze is called loquat color. The area around the kodai is riddled with cracks. This is known as 'kairagi' and is regarded as a particular highlight. Their first mention in literature is the description in "Sokyu chanoyu nikki" (tea-gathering diary written by Sokyu) of their use in Sowa YABUNOUCHI's tea ceremony in 1578.
Among various theories on the origin of the name 'ido' (literally,'well'), the most influential is that it simply meant 'a deep tea bowl like a well.'
It appears in the rakugo (traditional comic storytelling) story 'Ido no Chawan'.

Oido (literally, 'big well'): typical ido chawan.
Famous pieces
Noted oido include 'Kizaemon' (Koho-an in Daitoku-ji Temple), 'Hosokawa' (Hatakeyama Memorial Museum of Fine Art), and 'Tsutsuizutsu' (private collection).

Koido (literally, 'small well'): considered to refer to bowls of smaller shape and characteristics than 'oido' although it is also said to mean 'old well.'

Aoido (literally, 'blue well'): refers to bowls with a slight blue glaze, but there are various tones, including one which is similar to 'oido.'
Famous aoido include 'Shibata' in the Nezu Museum.

Idowaki (literally, 'well side'): refers to bowls similar to ido chawan but are large and shallow.

Buncheong ware
These are white porcelain style bowls made of paste covered with white clay and clear glaze.

Mishima: bowls made by etching a detailed continuous pattern on the paste and covering with a thin white clay. It is also called Koyomide. Recently, it has been generally accepted that it was called 'mishima' because the irregular patterns were similar to the Mishima-goyomi calendar made by the Kawai family and distributed from Mishima-taisha Shrine. However, Seizo HAYASHIYA, a researcher of ceramics, refutes this theory. Raihin Mishima' is a jotemono piece with an inscription stating that it was used at an office for entertaining foreign guests in Korea.

Kohiki: bowls covered completely with white clay which has a powdered appearance in places.

Hakeme: bowls where the hakeme (brush marks) on the white clay look like a pattern.

Items ordered from Japan
Gohon chawan: bowls fired at the Japanese consular office in Busan in the early part of the Edo period (1603-1868) and made to order based on a model. Examples include 'Tachizuru' (tea bowl with standing crane design) and 'Egohon' (literally, a book).
The word 'Gohon' means 'sample.'

Goshomaru: a tea bowl made to order modeled on Japanese kuro-oribe (a type of oribe ware with a black glaze). A famous piece is 'Sekiyo' (evening sun) held at Fujita Museum of Art.

Hori-mishima: unlike ko-mishima bowls, these were ordered from Japan from the Edo period onwards and had an embossed or inlayed pattern.

Irabo: bowls where the pattern is carved using a nail or those made using katami-gawari (i.e. two different materials or two different colors or patterns) which reflects the taste of Japanese chajin.

This was the Japanese pronunciation of the Kumakawa Consulate and was based on an old place name that was derived from 'Kumanari', a term used in ancient times to refer to Kinkai Gara. The bowls are so-called because they were imported from there and they have a curved rim with a slightly tulip-like appearance. They are unglazed below the lip. Well-known pieces include 'Ma-komogai' and 'Oni-komogai'.

Tamago-de: high-quality komogai bowls with a beautiful porcelain glaze. Of course, high-quality, refined items are not necessarily used in wabicha (wabi style of tea ceremony), as they spoil the feeling of simpleness.

Katade: porcelain-like tea bowls. A thick patchy glaze brings out the 'keshiki' (literally meaning landscape, this term describes changes such as warping, spots etc in the ceramics).

Kakinoheta: bowls which when turned upsidedown resemble the stem (heta) of a persimmon (kaki).

Unkaku: cylindrical-shaped bowls made from Korean celadon. Depending on the extent of the crazing, the color brings out marks and the keshiki. One style of this type of bowl is known as 'Kyogen-Bakama', whose inlayed rounded pattern resembles that of kyogen performers' suikan-bakama (pleated skirt-like garments). The famous 'Hikigi no Saya' held by Rikyu is well-known example of this type of bowl. The word 'hikigi' refers to the handle of chausu (tea grinding mortars) and jokingly refers to deep bowls.

Warikodai: tea bowls that developed from items used in religious rituals and have a distinctive kodai.

Kurogorai (black korai): a collective term for kuromono (black ware) such as 'Korai Tenmoku' with an iron glaze and 'Tessaishu' with a celadon glaze on top of iron pigments.

Hakugorai (white korai): fired at the Ming Dynasty Dehua Kiln, Quanzhou, Fujian Province. It seems that low-quality white porcelain was confused with Korean white tea bowls.

Egorai: fired at the Ming Dynasty Cizhou Kiln. It was also called Umebachite. This is a white porcelain of low quality with simple patterns made using iron pigment and sgraffito. Since tessai is seen in mishima and other styles, it seems to have been confused.

Korea and tea bowls
Korea has no custom equivalent to Japan's Sado and the word 'chawan' (tea bowl) is a term only used in Japan. Many foreign people who visited Korea in the 19th century wrote that Koreans had hardly any tradition of tea drinking and that only influential people drank tea from China and then only a little.
There were small bowls, which are still used for today's 'Korean set meals.'
There were also many small bowls for seasoning like a dispenser of vinegar.

There are various descriptions of gluttony being held as a virtue in Korea, and Shihei HAYASHI wrote as follows.

The people in that country are all bigger and stronger than Japanese and Chinese, and a Korean usually eats twice as much food as a Japanese; but they are slow and do not work hard, so that they were defeated twice by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI ('Sangoku tsuran zusetsu' [An Illustrated General Survey of Three Countries], woodblock print, page 6)
It was believed that the wealthy classes were prouder of eating a lot with their large collections of pots than anything else. It is said that the various bowls that came to be used as tea bowls were those which the 'common people' during the Joseon Dynasty used as everyday utensils. However, it seems that 'common people' here extended as far as low- and mid-ranking yangban (traditional ruling class or nobles during the Joseon Dynasty). The majority of common people, that is, sangnom (lower class during the Joseon Dynasty) and lower, who suffered from famine and often rose in revolt, only used coarse earthenware which originated from Gaya earthenware. Of course, it should not be forgotten that, like the upper classes, they seldom used 'jotemono' items.

There is a record of a Korean envoy who came to Japan in the Muromachi period and was delighted to be treated to Japanese style powdered green tea in various places. Therefore, Sado might have been known among the upper classes. Gohon style tea bowls were produced in accordance with Japanese taste. However, ido style tea bowls, made by chance, have never been seen again.

[Original Japanese]