Tale of Genji

WAKAMURASAKI (handcrafted Matcha Bowl)

This is limited edition only available in spring and summer season.

diameter: 4.72inch (12cm) height: 3.15inch (8.0cm), standard matcha bowl size
Sophisticated Kyo Yaki (Kyoto Style)
Made by Zenshoh Yamaoka at Zenshoh Kiln

(Please note: Because this item is made-to-order, it takes 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 cancel can NOT be accepted. If you order this item with other items, they will be shipped together.)

The Tale of Genji is one of the oldest novels in the world. Written by noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu of the Japanese Imperial Court, this novel is composed of 54 stories and more than 800 WAKA Japanese poems.
The work recounts the life of Hikaru Genji, from his birth to death, and afterward. Through the book, Murasaki describes the life of aristocracy, romance in the Imperial Court, and political disputes. She expertly portrays the internal emotion and expression of each character of her novel.
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 the Tale of Genji. Zenshoh Yamaoka selected 12 stories out of 54, one suitable for each month of the year, arranged by season.

Zenshoh Yamaoka expresses luxury and elegance in the palace, the secrets of human nature in each scene, and WABI-SABI aesthetic during this time, by making full use of various techniques. For example, in order to portray the gorgeous scenes of the Imperial Court, he uses luxurious gold to paint clouds, Japanese traditional cloth KIMONO, auspicious ornaments and so forth. This effect characterizes the affluent lifestyle of the Japanese Imperial Court during this period and makes the Matcha bowl brilliant. Clouds are one of the key features of the bowl. 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.

After Hikaru Genji became ill, he visited a monk for treatment in the northern part of Kyoto. It was springtime and the mountain cherry blossoms were in full bloom. He went for a walk to see the scenery, and found the temple living quarters. There was a very beautiful girl in the house, and Genji fell in love with her at first sight. Her name was Murasaki no Ue, and after the death of Genji's first wife, she became his second wife. She was agonized by his flirtatious tendencies, but dedicated to him devotedly until her death. This bowl tells the story of the 5th quire which is the first encounter between Hikaru Genji and Murasaki no Ue.
WAKA means young, and MURASAKI means purple color, but its meaning in this story is the name of the woman whom Hikaru Genji loved. This Matcha bowl portrays the gorgeous and pleasant scene of springtime in Japan, during which Hikaru Genji had a faithful encounter with Murasaki no Ue. White color of wild cherry blossoms are illustrated in three-dimensions, and this technique emphasizes their resplendent beauty. Red leaves, tender green of hills and field, and moss green on the branches adds accent, and these colors give an image of the warmth in spring. Gold color clouds not only impart subtle elegance and capture the scene, but also have an important role to harmonize and define the atmosphere. It seems that the splendid scenery in spring welcomes the encounter between Hikaru Genji and Murasaki no Ue.

Zensho Yamaoka has also painted the inside of the bowl, telling the story of how a friend of Murasaki no Ue lets a sparrow fly away toward the cherry blossoms. This painting not only gives us the peaceful scene in spring but also depth perception toward the springtime scenery.
Once you pour Matcha into this bowl, the bright green color of the Matcha also becomes part of the springtime scenery and the white color of cherry blossoms stands out beautifully. Please enjoy Matcha green tea with the feeling of springtime in Kyoto.





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WAKAMURASAKI is the 5th of 54 stories in the Tale of Genji, and the most important person for Hikaru Genji. Their first encounter is portrayed in this quire.
After Hikaru Genji became ill, he visited a monk for treatment in the northern part of Kyoto. He recovered enough to walk around, and passed by the temple living quarters. He caught a glimpse of its house and found a very beautiful girl. Her name was Murasaki no Ue. Hikaru Genji was fascinated by her beauty, and felt that her appearance was very similar to his mother. In fact, she had a blood relationship with his mother. He asked a nun to welcome Murasaki no Ue as one of his wives. However, she declined his offering, because Murasaki no Ue was too young. When time passed and summer came, Murasaki no Ue's caretaker passed away, and she had no financial support. When Hikaru Genji heard that she would be adopted by another house, he promptly went to her, and brought her to his home, so that he could take care of her.
After the death of Aoi no Ue, who was the first wife of Genji, Murasaki no Ue became a wife of Genji, and was dedicated to him more than any other woman, throughout her life

The Tale of Genji was translated into English by the scholar Arthur Waley and this version is highly regarded throughout the world. The original is very difficult even for Japanese to understand due to archaic language. If you would like to read more of the story, please refer to the below edition.

Translated by: Arthur Waley
Publishing company: TUTTLE PUBLISHING (R)

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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