KACHOH ZU - UME TSUBAKI (handcrafted)

This is limited edition only available in autumn and winter season.

(Please note:Because this item is usually made-to-order, it may possibly take approximately 3 weeks from the time you order this item until the date it is shipped from Kyoto, Japan. Once ordered, any order change or cancellation cannot be accepted. If you order this item with other items, they will be shipped together.)

diameter: 4.72inch (12cm) height: 3.14inch (8cm), standard matcha bowl size
Sophisticated Kyo Yaki (Kyoto Style)
Made by Zenshoh Yamaoka at Zenshoh Kiln

RINPA is one of the major historical schools of Japanese painting, which flourished in the 17th century in Kyoto. "RIN" means the beautiful beads, and "PA" means school, so all works in RINPA are focusing on colorful and elegant expression. RINPA is also known as one of the arts which express more unique Japanese sensitivity in Japanese modern art.

We, Hibiki-an have collaborated with Zenshoh Yamaoka, who is the leading expert of paintings derived from masterpieces in the middle ages and acclaimed Kyo Yaki artisan, to release a series of Matcha bowls featuring RINPA paintings. Zenshoh Yamaoka chose JUNIKAGETSU KACHOU ZU, which is composed of twelve hanging scrolls. Each painting is well decorated by his unique sense.

Houitsu Sakai (1761 - 1828), who was part of the third generation of RINPA, indurated RINPA in the Edo period. He is well known for his realistic description of birds, grasses and flowers, which he paints lively and elegantly. One of his most famous works is JUNIKAGETSU KACHOU ZU, "Flowers and Birds of the Twelve Months" in English. He painted twelve scenes of nature which are suitable for each month of the year in each hanging scroll, when he was 62 years old. Well-balanced layout and clear coloring pattern attract our attention. It is often said that this scroll is the most valuable among all paintings of flowers and birds in the Middle Ages in Japan, because it truly creates an immersive visual experience for the viewer. (RINPA Matcha Bowls + Cups page)

Zenshoh Yamaoka elaborately expresses the image of the original painting of JUNIKAGETSU KACHOU ZU to the Matcha bowl very well. Plum tree and camellia flowers are described elegantly and magnificently, and the contrast between red color of camellia flower and white color of plum flower adds the beautiful accent to the bowl. At the same time, we could feel the vitality and strength of nature from the drawing of the trunk and branch of plum tree.

UME means plum, and TSUBAKI means camellia. The plum trunk is decorated with a powerful touch, and its dynamic layout emphasizes its strength. In contrast, the gracefully depicted plum branches and the white color of the plum flowers adds a calm and soft atmosphere not only to the plum tree but also to the bowl. A warbler, which is one of the representative birds of spring, has settled on the plum branches, evoking the feeling of an early spring in Japan.

On the inside of the bowl, plum tree branches are painted, and it gives depth perception to the Matcha bowl. This way of painting has one more effect. When you hold and drink from this Matcha bowl, it appears as though the plum tree is stretching toward the sky. You will feel the warm spring atmosphere while drinking Matcha from this bowl.

Camellia flowers also evoke the feeling of mid to late winter. The elegant red color of the camellia blossoms and the contrast between the white flowers of the plum tree enhance its beauty. Adding to that, some buds are about to blossom, and remind us not only of the expectation of the coming of spring but also of the vitality of flowers.

One of the key RINPA techniques, called TARASHIKOMI is used on the trunk and branches. TARASHIKOMI is when colors are dripped into not-fully dried ink. Coincidental effect of blur makes unique and unforeseeable coloring. Different from folding screens and hanging scrolls, it is very difficult to use this technique on a ceramic bowl, but its faithful reproduction of Houitsu’s work expresses the realistic image of a plum tree. Technically painted trunk and branches with the use of golden and green colors have a texture close to the appearance of a genuine plum tree.

The use of golden color has a deep effect. Clouds are frequently used in Japanese traditional painting to separate and define space and time. The use of golden clouds makes this Matcha bowl bright and luxurious. The plum tree trunk and the veins of the camellia leaves are decorated with golden color. Golden color is abundantly used; it is not too ostentatious, but naturally, elegantly and gracefully painted.

Adding to that effect, the light orange line called GOHONDE, which is one of the traditional techniques, is decorated inside and outside the bowl. This technique adds warmth to the bowl and paintings, and represents the seasonal change from severe winter to spring. The GOHONDE technique creates the atmosphere of the bowl, and heralds the coming of spring.

This Matcha bowl contains two contrasts; the strong and gentle atmosphere of nature, and the slight difference of atmosphere between late winter and early spring. Both contradictory factors painted on this bowl exemplify this unique time of year in Japan. We are certain the beauty of this Japanese scenery will enrich the taste of the Matcha.




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Zenshoh Yamaoka

Zenshoh Yamaoka was born in 1942. He worked under Zenjiroh Ueyama for 10 years, and then opened his own Zenshoh kiln in 1969.
His paintings derived from masterpieces in the middle ages are excellent. It is said his precise drawing techniques are in a class of their own. Indeed, he was officially designated as a traditional craftsman by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2002. His sophisticated, exquisite, elegant, and advanced drawing techniques receive high acclaim in the Kyo Yaki pottery industry.


- It is best to wash this item using only tepid water or mild chlorine-free dish washing detergent.
- If necessary, you may occasionally use a chlorine detergent.
- Do not sterilize by boiling, or in a dish washing machine.

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