This is limited edition only available in autumn and winter season.
Handcrafted teacup: Pair 130ml (4.58fl oz) each, diameter: 3.54inches (9.0cm) height: 2.17inches (5.5cm)
Extremely traditional Kyo Yaki (Kyoto Style)
Fired by Ichiraku Yamamoto at Ichiraku Kiln, designed by Zenshoh Yamaoka at Zenshoh Kiln
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 tea cups featuring the Tale of Genji. Zenshoh Yamaoka selected 4 stories out of 54, one suitable for each month of the year, arranged by season. (Tale of Genji Matcha Bowls + Cups 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. 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 teacup brilliant. Clouds are also one of the key features. Clouds are frequently used in Japanese traditional painting to separate and define space and time. The use of golden clouds makes the teacup bright and luxurious.
The design features several of Ichiraku’s expert techniques, which bring the Tale of Genji to life. Linear patterns are modestly carved in S-shaped curves from the middle to the base on the outside. An elevated line of clay encircles the middle on the outside of this work. It was created by a skilled technique requiring the artisan to painstakingly carve away everything except this elevated area. During the process, the Yunomi starts out quite thick and is carved to thin. It is deliberate work requiring much time, effort and mature technique.
Traditional waffle pattern called KOHSHI GARA on the inside rim and SEIKAIHA MONYO on the side of the base are also elegantly and carefully painted in zaffer glaze according to traditional methods of highest grade Kyo Yaki porcelain.
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 teacup 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 adds accent, giving 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.
SUMA is the story about Hikaru Genji’s withdrawal. Because he had a relationship with a woman who was an opposition figure in the Imperial Palace, he voluntarily withdrew from the palace and decided to live in SUMA, which was far from the capital. The scenery of the sea, the towering hills with the autumn breeze and autumn wild flowers made him even more melancholy.
The painting illustrated on the teacup expresses the scene which Hikaru Genji saw in SUMA. He overlooked the view of SUMA at the top of the hill where autumn flowers were in full bloom. One boat passed on the bay in the autumn sky. This teacup conveys loneliness and sorrow, but at the same time, the use of gold color and expert techniques create its elegance. The contrast between the rich elegance of the gold and the sorrow evoked by the dark and lonely scene are poignant and superb.
The scene of the Tale of Genji, which Mr. Ichiraku Yamamoto and Mr. Zenshoh Yamaoka illustrated, appeals to our heart, evoking feelings of empathy for the characters in the story. One can almost sense the aroma of the flowers, the atmosphere of the palace, and so forth. You are certain to enjoy Japanese green tea with this remarkable teacup.