This is limited edition only available in autumn and winter season.
(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. (Tale of Genji - Matcha Bowl page)
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.
Since Hikaru Genji had a relationship with a woman who was an opposition figure in the Imperial Palace and he was thus condemned, he voluntarily withdrew from the palace and decided to live in SUMA, which was far from the capital. Life in SUMA was miserable and lonely, and he wanted to come back to the palace. The scenery of the sunset, the light from the sea, the towering hills with the autumn breeze and the crying of wild geese made him even more melancholy. The Tale of Genji talks about three main points: the impermanence of worldly things, retribution, and rise and fall. This chapter focused on his rise and fall, especially his decline.
This Matcha bowl expertly portrays the contrast and balance between the elegance and prosperity of Hikaru Genji and his sorrowful decline. The texture of earthenware also plays an important role to make perspective of depth. The painting illustrated on the bowl expresses the scene which Hikaru Genji saw in SUMA. He overlooked the view of SUMA at the top of the hill which autumn flowers were in full bloom. Two boats passed on the bay and a flock of wild geese flew in the autumn sky.
The expression of plaintiveness not only derives from his painting but also from its gray color glaze and earthenware texture, which is called KENZAN earthenware. Gold color clouds impart subtle elegance and capture the scene. Orange flecks are from a traditional technique known as GOHONDE, and its color reminds us of autumn sunset. In the inside of the bowl, a flock of wild geese flies far away towards the autumn sky, and it gives depth perception to the Matcha bowl. On the contrary to the use of gold color and techniques for its elegance, this bowl conveys loneliness and sorrow. The contrast between the rich elegance of the gold and the sorrow evoked by the dark and lonely scene are poignant and superb.
This Matcha bowl offers a glimpse into the subtle emotions and the WABI-SABI aesthetic during this period in the melancholy beauty of SUMA in autumn.