SHIROYU CHAWAN - UNHOH (handcrafted Matcha Bowl)

This is limited edition only available from October 2017 to September 2018.

(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: 3.74inch (9.5cm) height: 3.35inch (8.5cm), standard Matcha bowl size
Sophisticated Kyo Yaki (Kyoto Style)
Made by Kyoshitsu Sasaki at Kirai kiln

This SHIROYU CHAWAN is quite unique work, which is made with an avant-garde spirit while strictly adhering to traditional Raku-yaki techniques. UNHOH means clouded peaks in Japanese. This bowl is characterized by the unique color which is created by blending transparent glaze used for Aka-raku and white glaze. This color is originally generated by Kyoshitsu Sasaki with a liberal view not influenced by traditional style. The form of this work is inspired by Chohjiroh, the first generation in the Raku family line of potters. The form is quite simple since Raku-yaki was produced only for the Wabi-cha tea ceremony. We can feel the fusion of the traditional dignity of Raku-yaki and modern creativity in this Matcha bowl.

This Matcha bowl is made by Kyoshitsu Sasaki at Kirai kiln. Kyoshitsu Sasaki is the fourth head of Shouraku kiln. Shouraku kiln, which opened in 1903, is one of the most traditional Raku-yaki kilns in Kyoto. Raku-yaki is the highest grade Matcha bowl used for the tea ceremony in Japan. (For details of Raku-yaki: RAKU YAKI - Prestigious bowl page)

The name of "Kyoshitsu" and "Kirai" are from Daitokuji temple, which was erected in 1325. The temple has been a great influence on Japanese culture and Cha-no-yu traditional tea ceremony, since the spirit of Cha-no-yu is based in Zen philosophy. It is also said that Juko Murata or Sen no Rikyuh, who is the famous tea master and pioneer of the tea ceremony, maintained close relations with Daitokuji temple.

The balanced combination of transparent and white glaze is the central feature of this work. Traditional and typical Aka-raku, which means red Raku-yaki, is created by using only transparent glaze. The transparent glaze and yellow rubbed into the surface creates the distinctive red color after the glaze is melted down by the heat from the kiln.

This SHIROYU CHAWAN, on the other hand, is produced by adding white glaze to the transparent glaze. It creates a rare translucent white, which coats the surface of the Aka-raku and also makes us feel the originality and creativity of this work. This technique is rarely seen in the representative works of Raku-yaki, in spite of the history of more than 400 years. Upon holding this bowl in your hands, you can sense the Aka-raku, hidden by the white glaze. This reflects the Japanese aesthetic of refined modesty and imagining what is hidden.

The form of this bowl is modeled after the works of Chohjiroh. It is slightly smaller than the typical Matcha bowl and quite simple. Its form and size fit perfectly into both hands when drinking Matcha. Raku-yaki strongly reflects the style of Sen no Rikyuh and also represents WABI SABI, a Japanese aesthetic and spiritual ideal that implies authentic simplicity and imperfect beauty. It is no overstatement to say that it is the ideal Matcha bowl for the Wabi-cha tea ceremony.

The areas of smoky black, which are hidden by the coating of white glaze, are known as FU, and are seen on traditional Aka-raku. FU is one of the color changes and it occurs when fired surrounded by BINCHOTAN charcoal produced from Japanese Ubame oak. In other words, it is the burn mark created by BINCHOTAN. The surface of Aka-raku is like canvas fabric and the unique black designs of BINCHOTAN appear during firing in the kiln. Superb FU depends on the quality of BINCHOTAN charcoal and the skill of the craftsman to control the kiln’s fire.

KANNYU cracking occurs due to the different levels of shrinkage between the earthenware and glaze. In order to emphasize KANNYU cracking, red iron oxide called BENGARA is rubbed over the surface of the bowl and its color is absorbed into the cracked lines. Each pattern of cracking is so different that each bowl has a unique pattern. The irregular red cracked lines and light white glaze color are well reflected on this Matcha bowl. The KANNYU cracks form a lattice, the size and spacing of which are determined by the timing of cooling in water. If the bowl is quickly imbibed in water after removal from the kiln, the size of the KANNYU lattice is finer than one cooled slowly. A skillful craftsman will judge the right timing for the work by only the sound of cracking.

You can see the small dots like pinholes on the surface of the glaze and will also find three tracks on the base of the bowl. The dots are from the bubbling of the glaze, which occurs when it is fired at a high temperature. And the three tracks on the rim of the base are called MEATO. MEATO is the track of ME which is put under the bowl in the kiln to avoid adhesion to the kiln when the glaze melts during firing. These are evidence that this piece was created by traditional Raku-yaki methods. You can feel the excellence of transmissible techniques from this bowl.

Raku-yaki has a water-absorbing property. If used regularly over a long period of time, the aesthetic of the surface gradually changes. It is also a feature of using Raku-yaki that the atmosphere becomes more WABI SABI. Please enjoy your green moment with this Matcha bowl, which is infused with traditional dignity and modern creativity!

Specially packaged in a wooden box.
Lead-free. Made in Japan.
Free shipping on all tea ware items!
(Please note that each piece is unique due to the techniques employed by the artisan. There are natural variations in each piece.)




FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING on all orders of US$36.00 or more.

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Kyoshitsu Sasaki

Kyoshitsu Sasaki was born in Kameoka city, Kyoto in 1964. He entered Kyoto city Dohda senior high school of art in 1980, Osaka university of art in 1983, and Kyoto prefectural vocational training school of ceramics in 1985. He then studied and worked under his father, Teruo Sasaki, who is the third head of Shouraku kiln. In 2011, he succeeded to Kyoshitsu the second.

The Sasaki family is well-known for their traditional Raku-yaki at Shouraku kiln. Shouraku kiln opened in 1903, and is one of the most traditional Raku-yaki kilns in Kyoto. Kyoshitsu Sasaki is the fourth head of Shouraku kiln. In 1995, the third potter of Shouraku kiln, Teruo Sasaki opened a kiln under the name of "Kirai" and the name of "Kyoshitsu" was given by the fourteenth chief administrator of Daitokuji temple, Settei Fukutomi Roushi master. Kirai kiln produces avant-garde and novel works which are not restricted by traditional style, while still adhering to traditional Raku-yaki techniques. Shouraku kiln, on the other hand, strictly follows the footsteps and traditional methods of Raku-yaki.


- Raku Yaki has a water-absorbing property, so it is possible for this ceramic to retain and "sweat" small amounts of water.
- Before using Raku Yaki for the first time, please soak in lukewarm water for one or two minutes. Before reusing after it has been stored long term, please soak for thirty seconds. This process helps to keep Raku Yaki strong and durable as well as clean and stain-resistant.
- It is best to wash the Raku Yaki using only tepid water.
- If necessary, you may occasionally use a mild chlorine-free dish washing detergent.
- Do not sterilize by boiling, washing with chlorine detergent, or in a dish washing machine.
- In case of using this as a dish, don't serve foods that have been made with sweetened vinegar.
he vinegar may damage the glaze. - Take care not to hit the bowl against a hard surface or give it a strong shock.
- Before you store Raku Yaki in its wooden box for long tem, dry off fully in the shae for 4 to 7 days. Otherwise, if the clay remains wet while it is packed away in a box, there is a possibility for the Raku Yaki to take on an unusual earthy odor or even for mold to form.
- If Raku Yaki takes on an unusual earthy odor, you can remove the odor by continuing to use Raku Yaki every day for a week.

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